Following on from the recent publication of an evaluation of the European Strategy on Health and Safety at Work 2007-2012, the European Commission has announced a process of public consultation to “gather insights and contributions from all interested parties” about future EU policy on health and safety.
The Commission Staff Working Document lists five main challenges that had been identified during the evaluation process. These include, identifying the health and safety risks of new and emergent risks along with issues relating to the ageing and decline of the EU workforce. Regarding the latter point the Working Document comments on the need to take measures to retain workers in the workplace. The point emphasised in the Document is that “healthier workers are able to work longer and healthier, safer workplaces make for healthier workers”.
The evaluation also identifies challenges for the implementation of the EU OSH legal framework in SMEs and micro-enterprises. The point is made that these organisations often have to deal with the same risks as large-scale employers, but they do not always have the same level and depth of expertise on occupational safety and health.
The consultation document seeks input and views on a range of questions such as; “In order to improve workplace safety and health, do you consider it necessary to continue coordinating policies at EU level or is action at national level sufficient?”, “What are the key challenges in the OSH area? How would you prioritise them?” and “What practical solutions do you suggest to address all or some of these challenges?”.
This is an excellent opportunity for everyone involved with or concerned about occupational health and safety to have their say on the key issues affecting them and help formulate the direction of future policy in this vital area.
The consultation is open until 26th August 2013.
The relevant information and the online questionnaire can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=699&consultId=13&furtherConsult=yes