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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 2007-2012167part ong>ofong> technological development demonstrated by ong>theong> work in nanotechnology,shows ong>theong> way forwards.It is important, however, to ensure, that current societal trends towards riskaversiondo not result in an adverse technological development environment withinong>theong> EU and that controls and safeguards are seen to be proportionate raong>theong>r thandetrimental to innovation. Ongoing initiatives in ong>theong> field ong>ofong> nanotechnologyprovide a valuable ‘enabling safety model’ for technological development, inmaintaining a watching brief on ong>theong> health and safety implications ong>ofong> new andemerging risks, without unnecessarily stifling ong>theong> development ong>ofong> those newtechnologies.It is noted that many ong>ofong> ong>theong> issues raised in this section are reflected in ong>theong>European Research Challenges for occupational safety and health, recentlypublished by PEROSH, including rehabilitation, workplace wellbeing and ong>theong>multifactorial nature ong>ofong> MSDs 197 .6.3 Policy developmentsThe EU is currently in a defining phase. The upcoming programming period from2014 onwards is an important landmark in relation to policy developments in ong>theong>EU. In addition to being heavily involved in budget negotiations, which willdetermine ong>theong> distribution ong>ofong> ong>theong> EU budget across ong>theong> different policy areas andprogrammes, ong>theong> Commission has been presenting several proposals to reformmajor policy frameworks, such as ong>theong> Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), ong>theong>Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and ong>theong> Cohesion Policy (CP). It is against thisthriving overarching setting that ong>theong> future ong>ofong> European occupational health andsafety policies will be defined. This section looks in more details at ong>theong> futuredevelopment ong>ofong> EU policies that are most relevant to OSH and that should be takeninto account in ong>theong> development ong>ofong> future workers’ health and safety policies at ong>theong>European level.Europe 2020 and ong>theong> economic crisisThe adoption ong>ofong> ong>theong> “Europe 2020” Strategy has set ong>theong> direction towards whichEU’s current and upcoming socio-economic policies should move, including healthand safety at work. The objective ong>ofong> reaching 75% employment rate by 2020 veryclearly reinforces ong>theong> need for a better protection ong>ofong> workers’ health and safety.More effective and inclusive protection ong>ofong> ong>theong> health and ong>theong> safety ong>ofong> workersensures, inter alia, that:› Workers stay longer at work and ong>theong> number ong>ofong> costly early retirementschemes decrease;197 Sustainable workplaces ong>ofong> ong>theong> future – European Research Challenges foroccupational safety and health. Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safetyand Health (PEROSH), 2012http://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

168 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-2012168› Workers that have been affected by an accident or a long-term disease canreturn to work after a long absence;› The most vulnerable categories ong>ofong> workers (low-skilled, temporary, migrants,ageing, etc.) are less affected by occupational accidents and diseases;› Workers, and in particular women, have fewer difficulties combining ong>theong>irpersonal and prong>ofong>essional life and involuntary part-time work is limited;› Workers are happier and more productive.Important aspects ong>ofong> Europe 2020 are ong>theong> increase in ong>theong> flexibility ong>ofong> labourmarkets and ong>theong> support to job creation through targeted reductions ong>ofong> non-wagelabour costs, use ong>ofong> in-work benefits, flexible contractual arrangement and ong>theong>promotion ong>ofong> lifelong learning. 198 While some ong>ofong> ong>theong>se issues are in line with betterOSH protection, in particular ong>theong> promotion ong>ofong> up-skilling, oong>theong>rs, such as flexiblecontractual arrangements and ong>theong> increasing recourse to temporary contracts, canhave negative impacts on ong>theong> health and safety ong>ofong> workers. 199Administrative Burdens and Smart RegulationIn this particularly difficult economic context, which will keep framing policydevelopments ong>ofong> ong>theong> coming years, one issue has emerged that has importantconsequences for occupational health and safety. The reduction ong>ofong> administrativeburdens, in line with ong>theong> objective ong>ofong> “smart” growth, has been highlighted in manypolicy documents as a priority to support job creation and economic growth. Inparticular, ong>theong> 2007 Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens in ong>theong>EU has set an objective ong>ofong> a 25% reduction in administrative burdens on companiesfrom existing regulation by 2012. 200At ong>theong> same time, as has already been mentioned in this report, a High Level Groupong>ofong> independent stakeholders on administrative burdens, was constituted. This maderecommendations for reductions ong>ofong> administrative burdens in ong>theong> area ong>ofong> “workingenvironment/employment relations”. In particular, referring to Article 9(1)(a) ong>ofong>ong>theong> Framework Directive, which lays out ong>theong> obligation ong>ofong> employers to “be inpossession ong>ofong> an assessment ong>ofong> ong>theong> risks to safety and health at work, includingthose facing groups ong>ofong> workers exposed to particular risks”, Recommendation 58 ong>ofong>ong>theong> HLG states that ”a redrafted / clarified Article 9 should give ong>theong> Member Statesong>theong> flexibility to provide for exemptions, in ong>theong> light ong>ofong> ong>theong> nature ong>ofong> ong>theong> activities198 Council ong>ofong> ong>theong> European Union, EPSCO, Joint Employment Report, 8 March 2011.199 Milieu Ltd & OIM, Occupational Health and Safety Risks for ong>theong> most VulnerableWorkers, Study for ong>theong> European Parliament, IP/A/EMPL/ST/2010-03, August 2011, pp92-99.200 European Commission, Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in ong>theong>European Union, COM(2007) 23 final, Brussels, 24.1.2007http://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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