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A safe and healthy work environment

A safe and healthy work environment

It reviews progress made in the European Union on safe and healthy work environments, identifies the challenges still to be faced and maps out a strategy for 2014-2020.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on an EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 (COM(2014) 332 final of 6 June 2014)

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

It reviews progress made in the European Union on safe and healthy work environments, identifies the challenges still to be faced and maps out a strategy for 2014-2020.

KEY POINTS

Despite the significant reduction in accidents and better prevention, health and safety at work in the EU needs further improvement:

Every year more than 4,000 workers die due to accidents at work and more than 3 million workers suffer serious accidents.

About 25 % of workers say that their health and safety is at risk because of their work.

Costs due to work-related sick leave are unacceptably high.

The communication proposes a programme of actions in collaboration with EU countries and other stakeholders, with 7 strategic aims:

1.

strengthen the EU’s role in supporting national strategies;

2.

make it easier to apply occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation, particularly for smaller businesses;

3.

improve ways of promoting and enforcing legislation by EU countries;

4.

simplify existing legislation;

5.

address issues arising from the ageing workforce, emerging new risks and the prevention of work-related diseases;

6.

improve the collection of statistics and information on accidents and work-related ill health;

7.

have better coordinated EU and international efforts and better cooperation with international organisations.

As well as new laws where appropriate, the communication suggests that other means should also be used, such as benchmarking, exchanging good practices, awareness raising, voluntary norms and user-friendly IT tools.

EU countries are encouraged to make use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) during the period 2014-2020 to help with these aims.

The European Commission undertakes to closely monitor and evaluate progress.

BACKGROUND

Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for over 217 million workers in the EU is a strategic goal for the European Commission. As risks to workers’ health and safety are broadly similar across the EU, it has a clear role in helping to tackle the issue more effectively.

For more information, see:

last update 30.09.2015

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