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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The cartoon character Napo has done some great work for us and our partners in the Napo consortium over the years, helping to get our health and safety messages across in a fun and accessible way. We’ve seen him dealing with the hazards of loud noise, tobacco smoke and heavy lifting in the workplace. Now, he’s turning his attention to dangerous chemical substances, and changes in the way that they are packaged and labeled.

Cyprus: 50,000 lottery tickets with the logo of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign

Anyone who has taken part in the Cyprus lottery recently might have noticed something unusual about it: the logo of our most recent Healthy Workplaces Campaign, Working Together for Risk Prevention, has been appearing on tickets. With the lottery very popular among Cypriot employees, this is just one of the imaginative ways of getting across our message about the Campaign, which we’ve seen during the European Week for Safety and Health at Work.


Where should EU-OSHA promote its Healthy Workplaces Campaign on prevention in Sweden? At "Gilla Jobbet", a two-day conference held at Stockholm International Fair. 

With the English title of "on top of work", AFA Insurance and Prevent Sweden hosted on 24th and 25th October a major fair on all aspects of the work environment and working life.


This was the question posed at EU-OSHA when they received visitors from Prevent Sweden who were demonstrating their new ICT stress resources. Prevent is Scandinavia’s leading provider of knowledge and training in the field of health and safety. 

Stress at work associated with information and communication technologies (ICT) is a serious concern as it impacts on so many workers - there are few of us who are totally removed from such technologies. 


Throughout this European Year for Active Ageing, we’ve been stressing the importance of ‘age management’ in the workplace.

There are all kinds of things that employers can be doing, to improve the fit between the work that a job demands and the capabilities of workers as they get older: everything from reducing physical workloads to introducing regular short breaks into the working day.

Already, many European organisations are taking this kind of action, to help older people stay working longer in the workplace, meaning that organisations themselves benefit from the greater experience that older workers can offer.


Reaching into Europe's workplaces is the goal of EU-OSHA, to provide key information so that the risks to workers health and safety are prevented. This objective is achieved by having a national focal point for each Member State that manages a network made up of worker, employer, and governmental representatives. In Bucharest on 19 July 2012, the Romanian Network met to hear about and discuss the work of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.


How should we work together across the European Union, to protect people at work from injury and ill health? Now is the time to be thinking about this, as the EU Strategy on Health and Safety for 2007 to 2012 comes to an end, and we look both at what it has achieved, and what still needs to be done in the years ahead.

We recently got an indication of the European Commission’s thinking on these points, in a speech given by László Andor, the Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Speaking at a conference in Copenhagen, Commissioner Andor said that the EU needs a health and safety Strategy, and that a new Strategy after 2012 is justified.

Though it’s too early to tell whether the old Strategy has achieved its goal of reducing workplace accidents across the EU by 25%, according to Commissioner Andor the signs were that the accident rate would be significantly lower in 2012 than it was five years ago. The Strategy, Commissioner Andor said, had succeeded in providing a framework for co-ordinating health and safety across the EU, providing a clear sense of where we’re going.


In this European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, we’re focusing on the huge changes that are being brought about by the fact that we’re living longer. With an ageing population throughout most of Europe, we can expect some problems, as we see increased strain being put on our welfare systems and public finances.

A solution to these problems is ‘active ageing’: enabling older people to stay at work safe and healthy until retiring age, to lead healthy lives and stay independent.
The aim of the European Year is to raise awareness of what older people can contribute, and to make it easier for people to age ‘actively’: playing a full role in society, which can include staying longer in the labour market.
As we work towards these goals, it’s useful to get an idea of what people’s attitudes are, regarding this increasing role for older people in the workplace. And a couple of recent studies help us do just that. 


We've just seen the launch in Copenhagen of the European Year of Active Ageing 2012, which deals with an issue that will be vital for all of us in the years ahead.

The challenge is that we’re living longer than ever before. It’s a good problem to have, of course: since 1960, average life expectancy in Europe has gone up by eight years.

But combine this with falling birth rates, and the result is that we’re likely to see increasing numbers of older people in the European workforce. More than half of older workers currently leave work before they have to, for a variety of reasons. Estimates show, though, that there will be a big rise in workers aged 55 to 64 between 2010 and 2060, as a share of the total workforce. Increasingly, employers will have to get used to relying on older workers.


These are exciting times at the Agency: we’ve just launched our latest two-year, Europe-wide Healthy Workplaces Campaign. These campaigns are now the biggest occupational safety and health (OSH) campaigns in the world, and our new one, which we’re calling Working together for risk prevention, we hope will see record numbers of people getting involved.
At the same time, though, we’re very aware of how urgently we need a campaign like ours. For all that we’ve achieved in OSH, over five and a half thousand people are still dying every year in the EU as a result of workplace accidents, and thousands more from occupational diseases: the equivalent of one every three and a half minutes. And these deaths are only part of the story: there are also the thousands of European workers who have to live with the effects of accidents and poor health, caused by their work. We can work out the financial cost of all these accidents and work-related health problems, but that isn’t to take account of their full human cost.