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evaluation of the european strategy on safety and health at work ...

evaluation of the european strategy on safety and health at work ...

EVALUATION OF THE

EVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-2012107As would be expected, given its role and function, EU-OSHA and, in particular ong>theong>Risk Observatory within this agency, have played a major role in identifying newrisks. During ong>theong> life ong>ofong> this ong>strategyong>, ong>theong> ERO has prepared a published a numberong>ofong> forward-looking reports on new and emerging issues and risks, thus fulfilling itsrole in this respect. However, ong>theong>y have only played a limited role in promotingactive research within Member States. As this is not part ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir function this isnot intended as a criticism, merely a reflection ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir role. They did play a partprior to ong>theong> promulgation ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>strategyong> in exploring research priorities but oong>theong>rprogrammes, such as ong>theong> FP7 programme, have tended to be a dominant influenceas ong>theong>y provided essential funds for such research.Most Member States do report having research initiatives, partly aimed atevaluating and assessing current risks and current risk reduction initiatives butpartly also taking a more forward-looking view ong>ofong> new and emerging risks. Thecoordination ong>ofong> research effort in this field, through organisations such asPEROSH, provides important added value in helping to reduce duplication ong>ofong> effortbut also in providing for more powerful research evidence through integratingefforts across a number ong>ofong> Member States.Table 4-19Implementation ong>ofong> Objective on confronting new and increasing risksArea Action Stakeholder AssessmentIdentificationong>ofong> new risksEncourage national health and safetyresearch institutes to set joint priorities,exchange results and include occupationalhealth and safety requirements inresearch programmes.MS researchinstitutesFormation ong>ofong> PEROSH provides alead in this area.Enhance risk anticipation to include risksassociated with new technologies,biological hazards, complex humanmachineinterfaces and ong>theong> impact ong>ofong>demographic trends.EU-OSHAEROSeries ong>ofong> reports prepared. Workregarded as valid and credible,relevant and useful, by both policymakersand researchers.Promote ong>theong> practical, rapidimplementation ong>ofong> ong>theong> results ong>ofong> basicresearch by making simple preventiveinstruments available to enterprises and inparticular to SMEs.MS andsocialpartnersOiRA initiative, produced by EU-OSHA seen as valuable. Not clearto what extent this can beattributed to ong>theong> ong>strategyong>.Promotion ong>ofong>mental healthat ong>theong>workplaceInitiatives aimed at preventing mentalhealth problems and promoting mentalhealth more effectively, in combinationwith Community initiatives on ong>theong> subject,including ong>theong> employment ong>ofong> persons witha mental disability.MSMain focus on mental well-being(stress) and less success in relationto addressing ong>theong> occupationalneeds ong>ofong> those with a mentaldisability.It would appear ong>theong>refore that ong>theong>re has been partial success in respect ong>ofong> new risks.There has been (partly duplicated) action on identifying ong>theong>se risks but lesseffective promotion ong>ofong> research into ong>theong>se. The FP7 funding ong>ofong> research into ong>theong>possible health and safety effects ong>ofong> nanomaterials is a notable exception to this,although this work does not appear to have been fostered as a direct consequenceong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>strategyong>.http://projects.cowiportal.com/ps/A019055/Documents/3 Project documents/Interim and final report/Final report October 2012/OSH ong>evaluationong>-report_Final_submitted 14 March2013.docx

108 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-2012108At an EU level, ong>theong> OiRA initiative, reported elsewhere in this report, provided aclear lead on ong>theong> issue ong>ofong> risk assessment by SMEs and this tool has been lauded asbeing ong>ofong> particular value. However, although providing a good start, and a soundbasis for ong>theong> risk management approach, it is restricted in its accessibility andapplication. Thus, use ong>ofong> ong>theong> tool is restricted to employers’ and employees’organisations or EU/National Authorities, and is not available for privatecompanies to use to carry out ong>theong>ir own risk assessments. A small number ong>ofong> sector(and language) specific risk assessment tools have been developed but ong>theong>re isclearly a need for a considerable amount ong>ofong> furong>theong>r effort if its full benefit is to berealised.National initiatives aimed at fostering better risk awareness, assessment andreduction in SMEs have been widespread, although fewer Member States reportedong>theong>se, leaving greater scope for furong>theong>r efforts.Stress and mental wellbeing have been a particular focus for a number ong>ofong> EU-levelactivities by a number ong>ofong> different agencies, again meeting ong>theong> challenge laid downin ong>theong> ong>strategyong>. Stress and mental wellbeing have also provided a specific focus forinitiatives in a sizeable majority ong>ofong> Member States – although some have yet toaddress this problem and ong>theong>re has been little activity in respect ong>ofong> ong>theong> separate (butrelated) issue ong>ofong> those who have mental illnesses.Thus, at both an EU and at a National level, initiatives have been taken whichbegin to address all three ong>ofong> ong>theong> specific challenges laid down by ong>theong> ong>strategyong>.although ong>theong>re is, as would be expected, some variation between Member States(possibly reflecting national priorities). However, although ong>theong>re has been aconsiderable amount ong>ofong> effort, particularly at EU-level, in beginning to addressong>theong>se challenges ong>theong>re remains, without doubt, scope for additional efforts in thisarea. For example, a pan-European poll ong>ofong> ong>theong> general population, carried outacross ong>theong> EU-27 and nine oong>theong>r countries, recently reported that 79% ong>ofong> thosequestioned (77% in EU-27) considered that job-related stress will increase over ong>theong>next five years 135 . This view was also stated in ong>theong> recent ACSH opinion whichconcluded that efforts to reduce psychosocial health risks at work and to improvemental health should be more emphasised in any future Community ong>strategyong>, sinceevidence showed ong>theong>se risks to be still highly and increasingly prevalent.4.6 Achievements on ong>theong> development ong>ofong>monitoring tools to track ong>theong> progress inrelation to OSH strategiesThe European ong>strategyong> mentioned two sets ong>ofong> actions under ong>theong> priority area ong>ofong>monitoring and this section is structured accordingly.135 EU-OSHA-European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Pan-European opinion pollon occupational safety and health. 2012.http://projects.cowiportal.com/ps/A019055/Documents/3 Project documents/Interim and final report/Final report October 2012/OSH ong>evaluationong>report_Final_submitted14 March 2013.docx

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