EU-OSHA Blog

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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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On 26 April 2024, EU-OSHA was invited to participate at an OSH conference organised by ILO to mark the World OSH Day (28 April) in Pristina.

The conference aimed at raise OSH awareness among policy makers, social partners, enforcement authorities, CSOs and the general public. The event was opened by interventions from the Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfer (Hekuran Murati), the Swedish Ambassador (Jonas Westerlund), the EU office Head of Cooperation (Johannes Madsen), and the UN Development Coordinator (Arnhild Spence), who all underlined the importance of OSH risk prevention in workplaces to protect workers’ health as well as to enhance business’ productiveness and economy competitiveness.

A panel discussion followed where the chief Labour Inspector and EU-OSHA FOP manager (Hekuran Nikçi), and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce (Bersat Krasniqi), from Trade Unions (Blendor Shatri), and from the Kosovo Stability Initiative (Brikena Hoxha) had the opportunity to discuss on accidents at work and on the importance of tripartite dialogue.

A second panel discussion on the topic of OSH risks related to climate change, moderated by EU-OSHA, saw the intervention of an ILO labour inspector specialist (Luiz Rocha), a senior policy and public affairs manager from IOSH (Dr Ivan Williams), one environmental protection advisor (Egzona Shala), and one environmental and OSH specialist (Ermira Elshani).

The audience was represented by representatives of policy makers, social partners, enforcement authorities, NGOs, and students.

Following the request by IPA Focal points, EU-OSHA has translated the HWC 2023-2025 material to IPA languages and started a public procurement for print out.

This will allow IPA Focal points to distribute the material at national level to increase the awareness of policy makers, social partners, enforcing authorities, NGOs and the general public on the OSH risks related to digitalisation.

 

On 6 February 2024, the national OSH experts of Montenegro, Mr Zlatko Popović, Chief Inspector for OSH from the Administration of Inspection Affairs (EU-OSHA Focal point), Ms Đina Janković from the Safety at Work Association of Montenegro (SWAM), and Ms Dragana Đokić, OSH psychologist/psychotherapist, delivered a training on OSH to 30 selected media employees and journalists. The activity was organised within the scope of the project “Behind the Camera in Front of Health: Journalistic Lifecycle in the Shadow of Risks”, implemented by the Network for the Promotion of Socially Responsible Business (MADOP) and SWAM.

The main goal of the training was to raise awareness on the psychosocial risks and challenges at work faced by journalists and other media workers, in consideration of the fact that they often work under difficult conditions and are exposed to psychosocial pressures, such as stress, threats, harassment and third-party violence. A culture of OSH psychosocial risks prevention is currently lacking in Montenegro and in general risks in the workplace are not adequately addressed. 

Increasing awareness on the importance of OSH risks prevention and ensuring an effective implementation of OSH policies, as underpinned by the EU Framework Directive (89/391/EEC), are crucial to guarantee workers’ protection and, hence, to enhance the national economy, as well as to ensure the fulfilment of the EU accession benchmarks. Therefore, the aim of the event was, on one hand, directed to the relevant national institutions for them to implement a culture of OSH risks prevention and, on the other hand, for media employees and journalist to become aware of the existence and the management of psychosocial risks that could compromise their safety and health at work.

On 26 October 2023, EU-OSHA participated at an event organised by the national NGO Tutela to promote the publication of a booklet containing selected poems and stories on occupational safety and health written by primary school children. 

Like every year, at the beginning of 2023, Tutela organised OSH awareness raising events in primary schools in North Macedonia and invited children to write poems and stories regarding OSH risks. On 28 April 2023, to mark the World OSH Day, the NGO awarded the young authors of most significative poems and stories. Afterwards, all the awarded writings were collected into a booklet and published. The booklet was promoted on 26 October 2023 with the participation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (EU-OSHA Focal point) and EU-OSHA. And of course the young awarded authors accompanied by their parents, who particularly liked the broadcasting of the animated movie NAPO.

On 25 October 2023, EU-OSHA participated at the conference organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia (Focal point) aimed at raise awareness on the OSH risks related to digitalisation as well as to officially kick-off the HWC 2023-2025.

Representatives from the government, social partners and the international community took an active involvement in the event, and all underlined the importance of OSH risks prevention in workplaces, especially with regard to risks connected to digitalisation. 

The conference had also the aim to launch the HWC 2023-2025 "Safe and healthy work in the digital age". In that respect, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Ms Jovanka Trenchevska, reiterated the commitment by the national institutions to enhance a deep culture of OSH risks prevention in workplaces, throughout North Macedonia. The Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation, Mr Steffen Hudolin, underlined the importance to fully implement the OSH legislation in the perspective of the EU accession process. Remarkable interventions were delivered by the president of the Federation of Trade Unions and the president of the Organisation of Employers.

Afterwards, national companies implementing the best OSH systems were awarded by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

Finally, the last part of the event offered a in-depth awareness of OSH risks related to digitalisation. EU-OSHA introduced the main aim of the HWC 2023-2025 and made specific reference to OSH psychosocial risks data referring to workplaces in North Macedonia collected and elaborated by the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) of 2019. Important interventions by Maja Anachkova, from the Mechanical Engineering Faculty of the University “St Cyril and Methodius”, Maja Panajotovic Radevska, from the Occupational Medicine Institute and part of SEENWH, Katsiaryna Marozava, from the Italian Association on Environment and Safety (AIAS) and member of the European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organisations (ENSHPO), and Borche Stojchevski, from the OSH NGO Tutela concluded the event.

On 25 and 26 September 2023, EU-OSHA organised the third Focal point meeting of the year, hosted by the Spanish Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, in Toledo, Spain. The aim of the meeting was to share with the EU member states, EEA countries and IPA beneficiaries information on the latest activities and projects of the agency as well as the latest OSH knowledge and create a group discussion on the activities and strategies ahead.

IPA Focal point managers from Bosnia and Herzegovina (for the first time), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Türkiye participated at the meeting.
The event was followed by the Spanish EU Council Presidency conference on "Mental health and precarious work. The management of psychosocial risks" that took place on 27 Setpember.

On 14 September 2023, within the framework of the EU funded IPA project 2023-2025, EU-OSHA organised an on-line seminar addressed to IPA Focal point managers and OSH stakeholders, with the scope to present the recently published guide "Heat at Work - Guidance for Workplaces" and to introduce the main OSH risks.

Following the opening and welcome to the participants by the agency Executive Director, William Cockburn, Elke Schneider, senior policy advisor of the agency, presented the EU-OSHA publication and introduced the main OSH risk factors related to climate change and impacting on workers' health.

Derran William, senior OSH advisor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, shared his professional experience on climate change and work risks and provided a comparative analysis of the temperatures raising in the Western Balkans and Türkiye, on the related OSH risks and the suggested remedies.

Michail Kandarakis, Labour inspection and OSH specialist of the ILO project office Qatar, introduced the heat stress mitigation strategies adopted by ILO in Qatar, which include adoption of new legislation, as best practice to be considered in the new context of global warming, which is already reaching the whole Europe, and in the perspective of OSH risks prevention in workplaces.

Following the presentations, the participants had the opportunity to raise questions to the speakers and share their own experiences. Representatives from the Ministry of Labour of North Macedonia (EU-OSHA focal point) and the NGO MOSHA shared very interesting aspects of heat at work risks impacting on workers and proposed mitigating measures.

The IPA webinar was attended by 50 participants from the Western Balkans and Türkiye as well as from representatives of governments of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Within the framework of the IPA funded project, on 7 and 8 June 2023, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities hosted the 1st IPA Regional Conference organised by EU-OSHA, focusing on the topic of "Inspection of Psychosocial Risks".

The event had the aim to strengthen OSH knowledge on pshychosocial risk factors to provide guidance to inspection on quality risk assessment and on risk management measures; as well as to offer the opportunity to IPA beneficiaries to share national OSH best practice and difficulties in preveting risk of ill-health related to psychosocial risk factors.

On day 1, following EU-OSHA presentation on the main perceived psychosocial risk factors from European enterprises and on the existing EU legislation and international standards regarding psychosocial risks, Vladka Komel, Slovenian Focal point manager and Yiannis Koudounaris, from the department of Labour Inspection of Cyprus, shared national OSH practices and approaches to psychosocial risk prevention, and provided practical information on the application of the 2018 Senior Laobur Inspector Committee (SLIC) Guides.

On day 2, after the welcome by Nikolaj Petrišič, Director of the OSH department of the Ministry of Labour, Sergeja Brglez, OSHVET Ambassador of Slovenia, introduced the latest project research carried out by the Vocational Centre of Obala (SLO) to prevent psychosocial risks, including the development of the DigiStress application to monitor the time spent on electronic devices and reduce digital stress. Afterwards, IPA beneficiaries from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Türkiye presented their national OSH strategies and approaches regarding prevention of psychosocial risks in the workplace.

During the final discussion sessions of day 1 and day 2, IPA participants raised several questions concerning EU rules and EUMS practices, to which EU-OSHA, Slovenia and Cyprus could reply with concrete advice and examples.

On 28 April 2023, EU-OSHA participated at the event "Healthy working environment as a basic right to work", organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Administration of Inspection Affairs of Montenegro and the ILO, in Podgorica with the aim to mark the World OSH Day.

Following introductory speeches by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Admir Adrović, the UN resident coordinator to Montenegro, Mr Peter Lundberg and by a representative from the Ministry OSH directorate, Michele Dinelli shared information about the role of EU-OSHA, including the importance of the EU funded IPA project aiming at integrating Montenegro into the Agency’s network, and he presented the results of the latest Flash Eurobarometer survey on Psychosocial Risks (2022) to underline their negative impact on workers’ health. 

In the following two panels, composed respectively by the director of the Ministry of Labour OSH Directorate (Ms Danijela Šuković), the head of the Administration of Inspection Affairs (Mr Zlatko Popović - EU-OSHA FOP manager), a judge of the Basic Court (Ms Tamara Brnović) as well as representatives from the Employers Federation, from the Union of Free Trade Unions and from the Confederation of Trade Unions [panel 1], and by a representative of the Ministry of Labour (Ms Jovana Bošković), by OSH professionals and by OSH associations [panel 2], the discussion focused respectively on the basics of OSH in Montenegro and on the presentation of the actual situation from the point of view of OSH actors.

The conference was an important opportunity to exchange OSH knowledge, information, and experiences also from the view point of OSH professionals and social partners.

On 25 April 2023, the Istanbul Chamber of Industry hosted the closing event of the EU co-funded project "Capacity Development in the field of Occupational Health and Safety Through Structural Dialogue", which was an important event to raise awareness of OSH among SMEs in the Istanbul region, as well as to present the project final outputs and deliverables. Following the opening speeches of Mr Levent Kibar, deputy General Director of DG OSH of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Türkiye (the EU-OSHA FOP), and of Mr Celal Kaya member of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry's board, Michele Dinelli shared information about the role of the Agency, including the importance of the EU funded IPA project aiming at integrating Türkiye into the Agency’s network, and he provided a general overview of the EU legislation, underlining in particular the obligation for employers to carry out of Risk Assessments in the workplace, to prevent and reduce risks of ill-health for workers. The presentation was completed by a visualisation of comparative data taken from the OSH Barometer on the implementation of RAs in workplaces, visits by Labour Inspectors, as well as data regarding work-related chemical cancers deaths in the EU.

The event was concluded with the awarding of the four best companies implementing OSH practices in the "very hazardous risks" class.