It’s about Europe – It’s about you. Let’s talk. EU citizens’ dialogue with European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 25, 2015.
Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, and Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA, have met at the "Citizen´s dialogues" event that took place in Bilbao (Spain) on 26 February, 2015 . The dialogue’s themes focused on employment, investments in Spain and in the EU and a more social and competitive Europe.
Vice-President Katainen is responsible for occupational safety and health matters and thus the importance of his visit to Bilbao, where the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work is working to make European workplaces safer, healthier and more productive.
Watch all events online and join the dialogues via #EUdialogues
Web streaming/recording of the event in Bilbao
"Managing stress and psychosocial risks" E-guide. Two more national versions available now: Austria-German and Belgium-French
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 16, 2015.
"Managing stress and psychosocial risks" is a free online tool that provides information about work-related stress and psychosocial risks to foster awareness, understanding and management of these issues in the workplace.
The e-guide is available now in two more national versions: Austria-German and Belgium-French.
Conference report-Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 13, 2015.
The report of the ETUI-ETUC Conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?' which was held on 24-26 September 2014 in Brussels is now available.
Download the report
EU-OSHA participated in the discussions by contributing to the discussions on the burden of disease linked to work
Panel 8: Prevention of occupational diseases and accidents: too costly in an era of austerity
KIOSH-Kazakhstan International Occupational Safety and Health Conference and Exhibition
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 11, 2015.
Traditionally dedicated to the World Day for Safety and Health at work, KIOSH is a platform for meetings and discussions, for sharing experiences and knowledge and promoting the latest achievements in all areas of occupational safety and health.
The goal of KIOSH project this year, is to decrease rate of injuries and accidents in enterprises, reducing the risk of accidents on dangerous industrial objects and minimizing possible damage to the natural environment and society, as well as improving productivity.
KIOSH 2015, specialized event on occupational health and industrial safety sector, will be held April 28-29, 2015 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Find more about the event
Spain - First national prizes “Hospital Optimista – Optimistic Hospital”
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 10, 2015.
“Hospital Optimista” is a new Spanish initiative created to promote psychosocial health in hospitals and healthcare organizations. In order to improve the well-being of hospitalized patients, “Hospital Optimista” has launched the first national prizes aimed to reward good practices and optimistic healthcare environments.
If you want the healthy practices of your service or hospital to be examined by a free study based on a scientific methodology do not hesitate to submit your application.
If your department or hospital has led or carried out a project to improve the psychosocial health of patients, you can also submit your application for the “projects” category. You have until February 28 or March 15 depending on the category.
OSHwiki article in the spotlight – Dutch risk assessment tools
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 09, 2015.
Did you know that the Dutch were among the first in Europe to develop standard risk assessment (RA) tools? This month’s OSHwiki spotlight article explains how because of Dutch labour laws, these tools were developed in the 1990’s to help employers evaluate identified risks. With the coming of the digital revolution, they soon evolved into more modern, online versions. They also multiplied into 182 sector specific versions. Using the Dutch model (and web application) as a basis, EU-OSHA went on to develop the Online Interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) platform that is now used Europe-wide, especially to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
You can learn more about the history, development and impact of RA tools in Europe by reading this month’s OSHwiki article in the spotlight, ‘Dutch risk assessment tools’. And don’t forget, if you are a registered OSHwiki contributor, you too can easily contribute to or translate articles!
Eurofound brings out a report about “Statutory minimum wage levels in Europe in 2015”
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 06, 2015.
Most EU Member States have a statutory minimum wage, which sets the lowest legal amount of pay for all employees. Some Member States also have specific lower minimum levels for certain groups of workers, mainly younger ones.
During the economic crisis, minimum wage levels have been mainly frozen, with only moderate increases in some countries. However, over the past two years, the minimum wage levels have begun to increase, and this first EU wide compilation of minimum wage levels in Europe in 2015 shows a marked change in trends.
Coupled with low levels of inflation, statutory levels of minimum wage will increase considerably in most countries, and slightly in some, the report states.
Germany introduced minimum wage on 1 January 2015, as part of a wider reform on collective bargaining. This has triggered some debate in those countries which have minimum wage levels set within collective agreements. The implementation and enforcement of the German legal minimum wage will have impacts not only at national level but even, as already seen through the discussions raised in the road transport sector, at pan-European level, especially with regard to the posting of workers.
The introduction of a German minimum wage has not only been a substantial change in industrial relations in Germany, but has had an effect in related areas in other Member States, such as posted workers legislation. The report argues that it will affect sectors which previously did not have a universal wage floor.
Eurofounds´ research covers 22 EU Member States with statutory minimum wage. There is no statutory minimum wage in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway and Sweden.
Find out more:
Healthy Workplaces Campaign: Media partnerships prove to be a win-win situation
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 05, 2015.
The Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign is now EU-OSHA’s second campaign with a network of over 30 media partners, and the number of those involved is on the rise. Reaching out to a variety of channels and target audiences, the campaign’s media partners represent everything from blogs and industry magazines to specialised newswires. Although participation is reserved for those willing to get substantially involved in the campaigns, those who do, are finding it’s a win-win situation.
The diverse range of media partners is helping to spread the campaign message to some specialised, yet very diverse audiences. For example, the British Safety Council’s "Safety Management magazine" is one such media partner. It’s aimed at people from across all industries and business sectors who want to stay informed about the latest occupational health and safety issues. With over 7 000 national and international readers, Safety Management magazine has been busy publishing articles on the topic of workplace stress, and recently they devoted a roundtable feature to the topic. They also included copies of the campaign poster in the magazine and published a supplementary ‘safety guide on stress management’.
Media partner Aragon Valley, a blog that was launched in Spain in 2012 by entrepreneur David Mairal, is another such example. It focuses on OSH issues as well as sustainability, social responsibility and the environment. ‘I publish posts on the blog based on content from the campaign and I spread these posts on social networks’, explained David. ‘Overall, involvement as a media partner has brought benefits to the blog in terms of visibility as well as professional recognition’, David says. ‘Above all, it provides me with specialised content such as reports, infographics and tools that feed my main motivation for blogging – which is to learn and share knowledge. It is a win-win loop!’
David has also launched a spin-off project called ‘Cultura preventiva desde la escuela’ (Safety culture from school), aimed at informing students in Aragon and Catalonia about the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign. He has used campaign materials such as the Napo films to give presentations in schools to over 400 students so far. More news about this initiative is available on the website.
Other media partners have also been active, such as PPE.org (United Kingdom) which carried out live Twitter coverage of the ‘EU-OSHA Seminar on psychosocial risks in Europe’ that took place in Brussels last October, following a successful live Twitter chat about the campaign’s topic earlier in July. Meanwhile Quotidiano Sicurezza (Italy) has been including campaign information on their news website and newsletter. Similarly, Reputation Today (Italy) has been promoting the campaign in their magazine and Gesunde Arbeit (Austria) in their newsletter.
Being a media partner certainly has its benefits, but most importantly, more people are becoming aware about the importance of combatting psychosocial risks and stress in the workplace. Interested in knowing more about how to become a media partner? Find out more on the campaign website.
FR-Hyperbaric occupational activities: new practices to improve safety require special regulations
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 05, 2015.
Workers who perform their activities under hyperbaric conditions (pressure higher than the ambient atmospheric pressure, i.e. > 100 hPa), may do so immersed in water (divers, scientists, military personnel, rescue teams, etc.) or without immersion (medical staff, tunnel diggers, etc.), they are exposed to the risks inherent to their occupation, in addition to specific risks linked to hyperbaric environments.
In France, while there are regulations defining work methods and the gaseous breathing mixtures authorised according to the work sector, there are no special provisions concerning gas-recycling breathing apparatuses (rebreathers) or professional free-diving activities. In order to extend the regulations to these new areas, ANSES was asked by the Directorate General for Labour to conduct an expert assessment of the health effects of occupational exposure to breathing gas mixtures other than air in hyperbaric contexts.
The total number of workers exposed to hyperbaric conditions in France is estimated to be approximately 10 000 people, with highly diverse work sectors and working methods specific to each profession.
For more information, you can consult:
− A news item “Hyperbaric occupational activities: new practices to improve safety require special regulations” (in English)
− The full report “Health effects of occupational exposure to breathing gas mixtures other than air in hyperbaric contexts” (in French only)
ETUI and EU-OSHA work together: "Women’s health and work" International Conference and Workshop in Brussels
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Feb 02, 2015.
“Women’s health and work. Sharing knowledge and experiences to enhance women’s working conditions and gender equality” is the main topic of the conference organised by ETUI on March 4-6, 2015, at the ITUH (Brussels)
The conference will touch on 6 areas, organised in workshops of broad interest: health inequalities and division of labour, women workers exposed to chemicals, work organisation and the interaction with private life, the hardships of work, the design and use of protective clothing, personal protective equipment, tools and machinery for women’s work, and ageing and the long term effects of work. This last workshop is organised by EU-OSHA.
Confirmed speakers for the plenary sessions include Lucia Artacoz (Salut Laboral de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona, Spain), Colette Fagan (Manchester University, UK), Katherine Lippel (Ottawa University, Canada), Karen Messing (Université du Québec à Montréal UQAM, Canada), Elke Schneider and Sarah Copsey (EU- OSHA), Carme Valls, (Centre d'Anàlisi i Programes Sanitaris CAPS, Spain)
The last drop before the bucket floods – the Netherlands checks its work-related stress
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Jan 30, 2015.
For one of Europe’s smaller countries, the Netherlands is doing big things for the Healthy Workplaces campaign. In a country of almost 17 million people, an estimated one million workers risk suffering from burnout associated with work-related stress. This ends up costing employers up to EUR 2.2 million annually. The ‘Check je werkstress’ (check your work-related stress) campaign aims to combat that by raising awareness about the need for additional measures against work pressure and stress for employees.
The campaign in the Netherlands, which is being implemented in close collaboration with the country’s Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment, has had some significant impact so far, especially in the media. For example, tailored factsheets and media materials were produced that feature country specific facts and figures that make reporting on the campaign easy for the national press. This also included the production of the Dutch Good Practices magazine that contains a revealing infographic as well as personal real life examples about work related-stress from well known public personalities in the Netherlands who are helping to boost awareness by acting as campaign ambassadors.
A big social media push is also helping to get the word out. Following the campaign launch, radio spots and media promotion encouraged people to visit a special Facebook page to share their experiences and direct them to further information on psychosocial risks and work-related stress on the website. A special short questionnaire was made available to help people literally ‘check their work-related stress,' tying into the slogan of the Dutch campaign.
All of this promotion culminated in the ‘Check your work-related stress week’, which was held during the first week of November 2014. It featured the participation of over 50 companies that organised special actions such as ‘job swaps’ (where people switched roles with someone else for the day), lectures or lifestyle activities designed to make people think about the implications that work-related stress can have. The dedicated week also saw the announcement of the winners of the Dutch edition of the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards.
The week received lots of media attention including mention in all of the country’s top news broadcasts as well as panel discussions on several television talk shows with special guests such as the Dutch Minister for Social Affairs and Employment, Lodewijk Asscher, and former Olympic champion and cyclist, Leontien van Moorsel, who warned about psychosocial risks at work by publicly sharing her personal experience about having suffered a burnout.
‘The national focus on the campaign during the ‘check your stress’ week and the media attention it received was even more successful than we had expected,’ explained Dr Karen Oude Hengel, Campaign Manager. ‘It proves that our tailored media approach and social media activities really had a positive effect in getting the word out’.
Jos de Lange, National Focal Point Manager for the Netherlands, summed up by adding that, ‘we intend to build on the success and awareness the campaign had in 2014 by focusing on raising more awareness around specific topics in 2015, such as harassment, violence and aggression in the workplace.’
Eurofound launches Sixth European Working Conditions Survey: 2015
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Jan 30, 2015.
On the 2nd of February 2015, Eurofound will launch the fieldwork for the 6th European Working Conditions Survey (6th EWCS).This research, based on interviews with over 43,000 workers, tracks the current state of working conditions in Europe, highlights the quality of work and employment, and monitors changing trends. This sixth wave of the survey is an important landmark for Eurofound because it will build on the lessons learned from the previous five surveys and will provide a rich portrait of workplace trends in Europe over the last 25 years.
In cooperation with Ipsos, Eurofound will interview workers in 35 different European countries. The face-to-face interviews are carried out in peoples’ homes and cover a comprehensive list of questions on individual’s working conditions. The survey offers an opportunity for workers to make their voices heard about the state of their working conditions and about how working conditions and quality of work affect their lives.
The first findings of the 6th EWCS will be presented at the end of 2015.
EU ECHA tightens its practice on dossier updates
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Jan 29, 2015.
ECHA starts publishing a list of likely cases for compliance checks. At the same time, the Agency tightens and clarifies deadlines for dossier updates to reduce processing times once dossier evaluation has been started.
ECHA has started to implement its new compliance check strategy. The goal is to increase efficiency and transparency in dossier evaluation and focus on those substances that matter the most for human health and the environment. Some practices will also change as of January 2015.
ECHA starts publishing a list of substances for which a compliance check would in all probability be conducted. This gives the registrants the possibility for early dossier updates before the compliance check starts. However, the list is indicative and non-exhaustive: ECHA reserves the right to open further compliance checks on any dossier at any time and without prior notice to the registrants. The compliance check will mainly focus on eight key endpoints which are outlined in the new compliance check strategy. These are genotoxicity, repeated-dose toxicity, pre-natal developmental toxicity, reproduction toxicity, carcinogenicity, long-term aquatic toxicity, biodegradation and bioaccumulation endpoints.
To shorten processing times, ECHA will no longer take into account dossier updates after the draft decision on a compliance check has been sent to the registrant for comments.However, ECHA offers informal interaction with registrants to clarify the process and content of the draft decision.
When the registrants receive a draft decision on a testing proposal, they will have 30 days to comment and a further 30 days to update their dossier, where relevant.
Year in review. Campaign highlights from 2014
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Jan 26, 2015.
2014 was an impressive first year for the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress Campaign. A lot was realised, from the successful launch in April under the patronage of the previous EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, to the fruitful support of both the Greek and Italian EU Council Presidencies. The real backbone of support however came from EU-OSHA’s National Focal Points who tirelessly worked to get the campaign message out to stakeholders and media in their respective countries. But this was only just the starting point …
Over the course of 2014 hundreds of campaign related events and activities took place in all 28 EU countries and beyond. Many took place during the European Week for Safety and Health at Work in October and were organised by the National Focal Points. Special events included EU-OSHA’s promotion of the campaign at the ‘XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work’ held in Frankfurt in August, and distinctive benchmarking events organised by Official Campaign Partners Toyota, Lego, and Heineken to encourage the sharing of best practices on the management of psychosocial risks and on other OSH topics.
Online the campaign also reached deep into the world of social media over the course of 2014. On Twitter for example, there were over 12,000 people following #EUmanagestress campaign news and developments by the year’s end and the 200 plus tweets from last year resulted in more than 6,000 follow up interactions such as retweets. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, while there were around 16,000 fans of EU-OSHA at the beginning of the campaign this figure practically doubled to 30,000 by the end of the year – no doubt due in part to the popularity of the campaign. Last but not least, for LinkedIn, the third main social media outlet for the campaign, the year finished with close to 6,000 online followers tracking the 224 posts from last year, which resulted in over 1,000 follow up comments and shares.
Many other highlights complemented the campaign. The free e-guide, launched in November and available in 34 country versions, is a tool that will particularly help employers and workers of small enterprises manage stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace. The 2014 Healthy Workplaces Film Award was also given out in November to the film ‘Harvest’ (Vendages) for its depiction of seasonal vineyard workers in France. Films from previous editions of the awards were regularly screened at campaign related events across Europe last year.
Looking ahead to 2015, a number of companies were also busy preparing their applications in order to compete in the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards. Hundreds of applications were received. The selection process is still ongoing, so stay tuned to find out more about the ceremony and announcement of winners that will take place in the spring.
There is much more to come in the second year of the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress Campaign however, as things really get underway. In addition to the annual Healthy Workplaces Film Award, there will be more benchmarking events, including one hosted by Siemens AG and another by SEAT. The annual European Week for Safety and Health will again take place next autumn and the campaign will conclude in with a summit in Bilbao in November 2015. In the meantime, stay tuned for more events and news on the campaign website!
“Florianopolis Awards 2015”
By European Agency for Safety and Health at Work from News. Published on Jan 21, 2015.
The annual edition of “Global Healthy Workplace Awards” is taking place 18th-19th May 2015 in Florianopolis, Brazil. For the third year, the Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces (GCHW) brings together international leaders in health and well-being to celebrate and promote healthy workplaces all over the world.
The Awards are open to all employer organisations (for profit and not-for-profit, local and international) in up to three categories:
- Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): with less than 500 employees who run exemplary programs.
- Large Enterprises: with more than 500 employees who run exemplary programs at one local worksite.
- Multi-national Enterprises: employers with employees in different countries who run exemplary programs across multiple worksite locations and countries.
Entry applications is open until February 23, 2015.