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 reflectionong>ofong> ong>theong>ir role. They did play a partprior to ong>theong> promulgationong>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. Thecoordinationong>ofong> research effort in this field, through organisations such asPEROSH, provides important added value in helping to reduce duplicationong>ofong> effortbut also in providing for more powerful research evidence through integratingefforts across a number ong>ofong> Member States.Table 4-19Implementationong>ofong> Objective on confronting new and increasing risksArea Action Stakeholder AssessmentIdentificationong>ofong> new risksEncourage national healthandsafetyresearch institutes to set joint priorities,exchange results and include occupationalhealthandsafety requirements inresearch programmes.MS researchinstitutesFormationong>ofong> PEROSH provides alead in this area.Enhance risk anticipation to include risksassociated with new technologies,biological hazards, complex humanmachineinterfaces andong>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, rapidimplementationong>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>.Promotionong>ofong>mental healthatong>theong>workplaceInitiatives aimed at preventing mentalhealth problems and promoting mentalhealth more effectively, in combinationwith Community initiatives onong>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 thatong>theong>re has been partial success in respect ong>ofong> new risks.There has been (partly duplicated) actionon identifying ong>theong>se risks but lesseffective promotionong>ofong> research into ong>theong>se. The FP7 funding ong>ofong> research into ong>theong>possible healthandsafety 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 onong>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 andong>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 andat 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 atworkand 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 onong>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 safetyandhealth. 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