The aim of this blog is to bring you news about developments in occupational safety and health across the EU and beyond, and also about EU-OSHA initiatives and activities to fulfill our mission.

We are one of the smallest EU agencies and cannot promise to reply to every comment, but we will read them and bear them in mind to shape our future work. The blog content is available only in English.

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A meeting between Pedro Mota Soares, Minister of Solidarity, Employment, and Social Security and EU-OSHA Director Dr Christa Sedlatschek was the highlight of her visit to Portugal on 23/24 June 2014.

During the visit, the Director also met with the Secretary of State for Employment, Octavio Oliveira, the Portuguese Parliamentary Groups at the Palácio de São Bento, social partners, the Inspector-General of ACT (Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho), Pedro Pimenta Braz, and the Portuguese Focal Point Emilia Telo. 


At the 14th Congress of the International Association of Labour Inspectors (IALI) in Geneva, EU-OSHA’s director gave a keynote speech on the challenges and opportunities facing labour inspection. The congress considered the challenges and opportunities for labour inspection, the need for professionalism and integrity, and the value of partnerships.

One key issue is the increasingly diverse workforce and its impact on occupational safety and health - especially that of women workers. Women are more likely to work in part-time roles and in retail and service industries, education and healthcare. These working environments result in specific OSH challenges.  Research reveals that current OSH can be better targeted and improved overall for women.


On 28 and 29 April 2014, EU-OSHA representatives met with the Georgian Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs in Tbilisi to discuss our cooperation as part of EU-OSHA’s ENP Project funded by the EU under the European Neighbourhood Policy.

We discussed current developments in the area of safety and health at work in Georgia and presented information on the occupational health and safety system in the EU. Georgia is in the process of developing structures to improve workplace health and safety. An Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union is being finalised, which includes a commitment from Georgia to bring its legislation in the field occupational safety and health into agreement with the EU Directives in the area. This is a good opportunity for EU-OSHA to provide support to Georgia as it develops its capacity to improve workplace health and safety.


Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work is the theme for the ILO World Day for safety and health at work in 2014, celebrated on April 28. 

Chemicals are essential for modern life, but can be a danger to workers. Some of these dangers are well known, others less so. Ideally, the exposure of workers to dangerous substances should be eliminated, but often chemicals have to be managed in the workplace, just like any workplace hazard, to reduce the risk to workers. 

A chemical is defined by ILO Convention no. 170 (1990) on safety in the use of chemicals at work as "chemical elements and compounds, and their mixtures, whether natural or synthetic such as those obtained through production process". Hazardous chemicals are classified according to the type and degree of their intrinsic health and physical hazards. 

Use of chemicals at work is defined by the same Convention as any work activity which may expose a worker to a chemical, including during the production, handling, storage, transport, and disposal of chemicals.


The human cost of failing to protect workers is terrible. The ILO estimates that about 2 300 000 people - men, women, and children - die every year from work-related accidents and diseases. In Europe, more than 5 500 people lose their lives as a result of workplace accidents and a further 159,000 die as a result of work-related illnesses. 

The victims of poor working conditions extend beyond the workers themselves, They include the families of the workers lost, who not only suffer emotional trauma but also may be left in a precarious financial position due to the loss of income.

An assessment-based practical approach to workplace prevention, with management showing commitment and leadership to running their business safely and healthily, and with workers engaged in the prevention process can lead to better business, reduced costs to society - and a lower death toll.


Since February 2014, EU-OSHA has been working on a project funded under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The project will run until January 2016 and aims to involve ENP partner countries in the work of the Agency by establishing a single contact point in each country to provide a platform for sharing information with the local safety and health network.


Several new OiRA tools were published in 2013 with support from EU-OSHA. This takes the total number of tools available to 15. But more importantly, there is now an OiRA community actively working together across Europe to make risk prevention easier. And the outlook for this year is even more promising, with around 50 more tools under development.


The Consolidated Use of Work Equipment Directive 2009/104/EC requires tower and mobile cranes to be examined to detect actual and potential defects and weaknesses, and for such to be reported and acted upon so as to ensure safe crane operation. This requires an examiner who is both competent and impartial to carry out the examination. 

Guidance has been developed by a tripartite working group with representation from employees, employers and governments. The purpose of this guidance is to advise on appropriate minimum standards to ensure the competence (and impartiality) of persons carrying-out periodic and assembly examinations of tower and mobile cranes. 


The Global Framework: Safety, health and security for work-related international travel and assignments was released by The International SOS Foundation following a Meeting of International Experts held last year. 


On Thursday 24 October 2013, during the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, the Hamburg OSH Partnership held an event to celebrate its winning of a European Good Practice Award 2013 and to further promote the campaign of “Working together for risk prevention”.

Following their success in the national and European Good Practice competitions, the European Award has been handed over to the Hamburg OSH Partnership by European Commissioner Lázló Andor and EU-OSHA Director Christa Sedlatschek in the European Award Ceremony in Dublin in April this year. The event in Hamburg has been organised in order to recognise all national partners in a decent ceremony and further stimulate the exchange of good practices.