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New Healthy Workplaces Campaign: call to action for employers and workers to work together

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launches its new two-year Healthy Workplaces Campaign with the theme Working together for risk prevention.

 
 
Dr C Sedlatschek, Mr L Andor and Mr B Smith
Dr C Sedlatschek, Mr L Andor and Mr B Smith
PRLog - Apr. 20, 2012 - EU workplaces are safer and healthier than they have ever been. But still every year there are 6.9 million workplace accidents and millions more work-related diseases. The human suffering of poor safety and health is immeasurable, but the economic cost is estimated at 490 billion euros a year - more than half the current cost of the EU's financial crisis bail-out fund. EU-OSHA's new campaign turns the spotlight on the importance of management leadership and worker participation in improving workplace safety and health.

Launching the campaign in Brussels, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Mr László Andor, alongside Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA and Mr Bo Smith, Permanent Secretary at the Danish Ministry of Employment, called for workers and employees to work together to lay the foundations for a more sustainable risk prevention culture in Europe.

Commissioner Andor stated that ‘Europe has made a lot of progress in the area of occupational safety and health in the past decade and we have to continue our work in this area. This is one of the key policies to make active ageing a reality, which is the aim of the European Year in 2012. There is evidence that prioritising health and safety is not just the right thing to do, it's also good for business. Benefits include reduced costs and increased productivity; a happier and more productive workforce; lower rates of worker absence and turnover; fewer accidents; improved standing among suppliers and partners; greater awareness and control of workplace risks; and a better reputation for sustainability among investors, customers and communities.’

'The most effective results are achieved if workers and managers join together,’ adds Dr Christa Sedlatschek. ‘Therefore the campaign is focusing on encouraging both bosses and top managers to show leadership in actively engaging in risk reduction and workers, their representatives and other stakeholders to work together with managers to reduce risks. There is still action to be taken and here our Healthy Workplaces Campaign plays a major role, offering simple and practical guidance to working together.’

Results from EU-OSHA's recent pan-European opinion poll on occupational safety and health (OSH) give cause for optimism for the campaign's success. The poll shows that on the whole, EU workers (74%) feel confident that an occupational health and safety problem raised with a supervisor would be addressed; and generally Europeans (67%) consider themselves well informed about occupational health and safety. But there are big differences between Member States and a key aim of the campaign is to share good practice to raise the levels of risk prevention in companies of all sizes and in all sectors wherever they might be situated in the EU.

Research confirms that whatever an organisation’s size, leadership from the top and the active participation of workers are crucial to successful health and safety management. The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) shows that worker participation combined with management commitment leads to far better occupational safety and health performance. Enterprises with high worker participation combined with high management commitment, for example, are 10 times more likely to have a documented OSH policy in place. This has the additional benefit of these measures being perceived as more effective.

The campaign encompasses a range of activities at national and European level, including the 11th European Good Practice Awards. The Awards, to be announced in April 2013, highlight the best examples of managers and employees working together for risk prevention. Organised by EU-OSHA, in cooperation with the Member States and the incumbent Council Presidencies of the European Union, the Awards are now officially open for entries, via EU-OSHA’s network of national focal points (http://osha.europa.eu/en/about/competitions).

The campaign will be led at national level by EU-OSHA’s national focal points and official campaign partners. To download the official campaign guide and other campaign materials (presentations, publications and promotional material in 24 languages) and find campaign events happening across Europe, visit the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2012-13 website: www.healthy-workplaces.eu.

__________________________________________


Notes:

1. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work. The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organises pan-European awareness raising campaigns. Set up by the European Union in 1996 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU-27 Member States and beyond.

Now you can follow us on Twitter, visit the Agency’s blog or subscribe to our monthly newsletter OSHmail. You can also register for regular news and information from EU-OSHA via RSS feeds.

http://osha.europa.eu

2. The 2012–13 Healthy Workplaces Campaign ‘Working together for risk prevention’ is decentralised and is designed to help national authorities, companies, organisations, managers, workers and their representatives and other  stakeholders to work together to enhance health and safety in the workplace. The campaign supports a wide range of activities at national and European level, including national partnership meetings and seminars. Smaller enterprises will be particularly welcome to take part. www.healthy-workplaces.eu

Key dates

•   Campaign launch: 18th April 2012
•   European Weeks for Safety and Health at Work in October 2012 and 2013
•   Good Practice Awards Ceremony: April 2013
•   Healthy Workplaces Summit: November 2013

Press enquiries
•   Remigio Bartolo - Focal Point Manager + 356 21 247 677   |   remigio.j.bartolo@gov.mt
•   Birgit Müller - International press +34 94 479 35 52   |   news@osha.europa.eu
•   Marta Urrutia - Spanish press ++34 94 479 57 46   |   noticias@osha.europa.eu
•   Brenda O’Brien - Brussels Liaison Office +32 2 401 68 59   |   obrien@osha.europa.eu

Photo:
http://www.prlog.org/11854612/1

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