Belgian Focal Point’s Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2012-13 Symposium, Brussels 21 October 2013

James Sumner

On Monday 21 October 2013, at the start of the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, the Belgian Focal Point held an event to mark the 2012-13 Campaign - Working Together for Risk Prevention. The conference was held in the Ministry for Employment, Work and Social dialogue in Brussels and was great way to recognise all the work that went into delivering the campaign, not only in Belgium, but also in the neighbouring Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Mr Christian Deneve, (Director General) opened the event, introducing the speakers and outlining the long tradition of cooperation between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. To illustrate this, he was followed by Mr Rob Triemstra, the Acting Director of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in the Netherlands who used OiRA as an example of how EU-OSHA can facilitate the sharing of practical solutions between Member States.  Representatives from the Dutch Focal Point and the Focal Point from Luxembourg were in attendance to highlight the great collaboration between the Benelux countries in promoting the latest EU-OSHA campaign.

Brenda O’Brien gave a presentation (in French!) on behalf of EU-OSHA demonstrating the success of the Campaign throughout Europe and thanking the Belgian Focal Point for their contribution. Brenda was followed by Frank Dehasque from the Belgian Focal Point who underlined the importance of Campaign Partners, many of whom were present, and outlined all the hard work and commitment that went into the campaign in Belgium. The Belgian Campaign involved a range of initiatives, such as publishing articles in safety journals, organising conferences and seminars and giving awards for good practice. It is estimated that the campaign reached ten thousand companies in Belgium, which is a great result!

A presentation from Jos de Lange, the Dutch Focal Point underlined the importance of collaboration between governments, workers and employers to achieve the best results in safety and health at work. Paul Weber from the Focal Point in Luxembourg gave a fascinating speech on the situation in Luxembourg. He noted the increasing problem of issues such as stress, overwork and harassment in the workplace.

Odette Wlodarski (Prevent), Marloes van der Klauw (TNO) and Maria-Christina Ribas Y Ribas (Regional Directorate for the control of well-being at work) gave interesting presentations about the importance of European and national strategies; the reasons why employers introduce prevention measures; and the activities of the inspectorate. Finally, Brenda introduced the new EU-OSHA Campaign for 2014-2015 “Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress”, encouraging everyone to get involved.

A special thanks to Frank Dehasque, the Ministry for Employment, Work and Social dialogue and all the campaign partners for a great event and their equally impressive contribution to EU-OSHA’s 2012-2013 Campaign.  We look forward to seeing you in Bilbao in November for the Healthy Workplaces Summit 2013 and collaborating on the campaign for 2014-15!