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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 2007-2012121diseases. Setting such a target in ong>theong> ong>strategyong> was seen by many stakeholders as a“marketing stunt”, a way to increase media focus on one single issue, when whatactually matters and should be publicised are ong>theong> means to achieve such areduction. Anoong>theong>r point that was raised several times is ong>theong> lack ong>ofong> a concretebaseline in ong>theong> ong>strategyong> as a point ong>ofong> departure for a 25% reduction, which increasesong>theong> feeling that ong>theong> 25% figure was chosen arbitrarily. The issue ong>ofong> ong>theong> lack ong>ofong>capacities to monitor progress towards ong>theong> achievement ong>ofong> such quantified a targetwas also mentioned several times. However, ong>theong>re was also a view that, whateverong>theong> merits ong>ofong> ong>theong> actual value chosen, setting a specific target made it somewhateasier to gauge success in meeting that target raong>theong>r than, for example, an objectiveong>ofong> a ‘significant reduction’. There is also generally more cohesion betweenMember States in defining (and to some extent recording) accidents than ong>theong>re iswith occupational diseases.National stakeholders’ views on ong>theong> general objective ong>ofong> a reduction ong>ofong>occupational accidents and diseases are quite diverse and depend on ong>theong>iraffiliation to ong>theong> different interest groups. There is a general agreement that ong>theong>main objective ong>ofong> reduction ong>ofong> accidents and diseases has been very relevant, asaiming for fewer work-related accidents and diseases cannot, in any case, beconsidered a bad objective for a health and safety ong>strategyong>. However, severalconcerns were voiced in relation to:› The baseline used to come up with ong>theong> 25 percent figure;› The lack ong>ofong> reliable statistics to monitor progress towards ong>theong> target (at bothEU and national levels);› The lack ong>ofong> similar ambition for ong>theong> reduction ong>ofong> occupational diseases as foroccupational accidents;› The balance between a target ong>ofong> reduction ong>ofong> occupational diseases with ong>theong>need to encourage more recognition ong>ofong> occupational disease.In particular, many national stakeholders mentioned that ong>theong>re is a contradictionbetween ong>theong> different situation in Member States regarding occupational diseasesand accidents, data collection methodologies and reliability and ong>theong> setting ong>ofong> asingle common target at EU level.Priority area 1 –Improvement/simplification ong>ofong> legislationWith regard to ong>theong> relevance ong>ofong> ong>theong> first priority area ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>strategyong> on ong>theong>improvement ong>ofong> implementation and simplification ong>ofong> legislation, a clear divideappears between ong>theong> different EU stakeholders interviewed. All stakeholdersmentioned that improving ong>theong> implementation ong>ofong> existing legislation is ong>theong> mostrelevant objective ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>strategyong>. In this regard, ong>theong> development ong>ofong> practicalguidance has been ong>ofong>ten highlighted as a good practice. However, on ong>theong> questionong>ofong> ong>theong> simplification ong>ofong> ong>theong> legislation, opinions are strongly opposed, in particularin comparing those ong>ofong> ong>theong> representatives ong>ofong> workers’ and employers’organisations. On ong>theong> one hand, improvement ong>ofong> ong>theong> legislative framework isunderstood by some stakeholders as ong>theong> continuous update ong>ofong> existing directives nolonger adapted to new risks (such as ong>theong> carcinogens and mutagens directive) andong>theong> adoption ong>ofong> new legislative requirements, adapted to current risks ong>ofong> ong>theong>working environment when no legal framework already exists (such as in ong>theong> caseong>ofong> ong>theong> ergonomics directive).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

122 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-2012122On ong>theong> oong>theong>r hand, for some stakeholders, improvement ong>ofong> ong>theong> EU OSH legalframework means ong>theong> simplification ong>ofong> ong>theong> current framework through, ifnecessary, ong>theong> withdrawal ong>ofong> obsolete legislation. The example ong>ofong> ong>theong> possiblelegislative proposal on ergonomics and MSDs was used in both instances as acounter-example ong>ofong> improvement ong>ofong> legislation (for one side because it wouldmean too much simplification, hence, deregulation, for ong>theong> oong>theong>r side because itwould add obligations to ong>theong> existing framework).Member States have provided a similar picture, with a contrast between workers’and employers’ representatives (see Table 5-3). While ong>theong> majority ong>ofong> nationalworkers’ representatives interviewed scored ong>theong> relevance ong>ofong> this objective quitelow (between 1 and 3), a vast majority ong>ofong> ong>theong> employers’ and government’srepresentatives interviewed scored it high (between 3 and 5, closer to 5).Employers’ representatives highlight ong>theong> importance ong>ofong> a legislation that issimplified and easily applicable by companies, however workers’ andgovernment’s representatives have highlighted that simplification should not be anaim in itself and that ong>theong> priority must remain ong>theong> optimal protection ong>ofong> workers. Afew stakeholders mentioned that ong>theong> main issue does not necessarily lie in ong>theong>complexity ong>ofong> ong>theong> regulation but in ong>theong> fact that SMEs are not familiar with ong>theong>nature ong>ofong> ong>theong> problems tackled by ong>theong> legislation and ong>theong> solutions proposed,ong>theong>refore emphasising that adapted tools and guidance should always accompanylegislation.Table 5-3MS stakeholders responses to ong>theong> question: to which extent do you considereach ong>ofong> ong>theong> six priorities to have been relevant (improvement/simplification ong>ofong>legislation)?Type ong>ofong> stakeholder1 (not atall)2 3 4 5 (highextent)Don't know/no replyASCH Employers 4 4 3 14ASCH Workers 3 5 5 4 6 2ASCH Government 1 6 7 12EU-OSHA Focal point 1 2 3 1SLIC 1 1 3 7 8 1Grand Total 5 11 20 24 41 3Note: 1=not at all, 3=to some extent, 5=to a high extent, n=104Priority area 2 –Development ong>ofong>national strategiesAll EU stakeholders interviewed have said that ong>theong> second priority area is veryrelevant, however, none ong>ofong> ong>theong>m have prioritised it as ong>theong> most relevant area ong>ofong> ong>theong>ong>strategyong>. Stakeholders mentioned that supporting ong>theong> development ong>ofong> nationalstrategies will allow ong>theong> establishment ong>ofong> a common approach to dealing withdifferent national contexts and cultures in relation to health and safety at work.This is seen as a positive development in ong>theong> sense that it creates a level playingfieldin ong>theong> whole ong>ofong> ong>theong> EU and ensures that companies that are OSH-friendly arenot disadvantaged on ong>theong> market in comparison to companies that are less OSHfriendlyand believed to be more competitive as a result. On ong>theong> oong>theong>r hand,national situations and specific context should still be taken into account andhttp://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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