We can only estimate the cost of failing to protect workers, latest figures showing that work-related accidents and illnesses take the lives of over 200 000 people and cost the EU at least EUR 476 billion every year - 3.3 % of European GDP. The cost of work-related cancers alone amounts to EUR 119.5 billion.
Setting out a long-term strategy
The current corporate strategy covers 2018–2023 and identifies six priority areas:
- Anticipating change — through our foresight projects
- Facts and figures — gathering and spreading information for researchers and policy-makers through ESENER and OSH overviews
- Tools for the management of OSH — primarily through OiRA
- Raising awareness of OSH — through the Healthy Workplaces Campaigns and other awareness-raising activities
- Networking knowledge — particularly through the development of OSHwiki
For more information, download EU-OSHA’s corporate strategy 2018–2023, which is coherent with European Commission's Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 and the European Commission's Communication on modernisation of OSH from January 2017
Planning for the year ahead
Each year, EU-OSHA’s Executive Director prepares and the Management Board adopts a single programming document setting out the Agency’s three-year rolling programme. It details the activities to be carried out and the objectives to be achieved in particular for the year ahead.
The single programming document sets clear priorities and aims to ensure that the Agency makes the best use of its resources and its network. Some important areas of activity are: anticipating change, awareness raising, and facts and figures on OSH topics.
To view work programmes/single programming documents for previous years, visit our publications page.
Protecting employees from accidents and ill health is not only a legal and ethical duty — it’s a sign of a business that is likely to grow and thrive.
Reducing risk from the top down
An enterprise’s leaders — senior management, directors and/or the board — are in a position to prevent accidents and ill health in the workplace. They can do this by:
- Committing to and communicating an effective OSH management strategy
- Developing robust safety and health management systems
- Monitoring the performance of those systems
- Setting a good example by following all safety procedures at all times
- Motivating staff to participate in ensuring good safety and health
Paying the price for poor leadership
Ineffective or non-existent leadership on OSH can result in accidents or even fatalities as well as poor mental and physical health among workers. It can damage a company’s reputation. Poor leadership can, in fact, have significant financial costs as a result of, for example, sick days, wasted time and compensation payments.
Good OSH leadership, on the other hand:
- Prevents accidents and illness
- Increases productivity and efficiency
- Improves employee morale
- Helps the bussiness to win new contracts and attract high-quality employees
Taking the lead on safety and health
There are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your organisation benefits from good OSH leadership. Here are some practical tips, based on a guide developed by the British Health and Safety Executive:
- Carry out regular risk assessments and act on the results
- Always consider the safety and health implications of introducing new members of staff, processes and working methods
- Visible leadership is effective leadership. Make sure leaders make regular visits to the ‘shop floor’ of your organisation to talk to employees about OSH problems and solutions
- Demonstrate commitment by making sure that safety and health issues are always on the agenda at board meetings
- Provide safety and health training to all leaders, promoting a greater awareness of the value of OSH
Working together — getting employees involved
One of the keys to good OSH leadership is getting workers involved. Employers have a legal duty to consult employees on safety and health issues. But there are benefits to going beyond the minimum requirements. OSH management will be more likely to succeed if it encourages the active participation of workers and sets up a dialogue between employees and management.
In 2012, EU-OSHA ran a two-year campaign on this topic, called Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2012–2013 Working Together for Risk Prevention.
This campaign concluded with a benchmarking event where campaign partners exchanged examples of good practice, with workshops on topics such as ‘Leadership training’ and ‘The safety and health culture of an organisation’. Read a summary of the event.