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 2007-2012169and size ong>ofong> ong>theong> undertakings, from ong>theong> obligation to draw up ong>theong> documentsreferenced in paragraph 1(a) [ong>ofong> Article 9]”. 201More recently, in November 2011, ong>theong> Commission published a report entitled“Minimizing regulatory burden for SMEs – Adapting EU regulation to ong>theong> needs ong>ofong>micro-enterprises” in which it highlights ong>theong> importance ong>ofong> applying ong>theong> “ThinkSmall First” principle andong>theong> SME-test and, most importantly, applying to newlegislative proposals ong>theong> principle that “micro-entities should be excluded from ong>theong>scope ong>ofong> ong>theong> proposed legislation unless ong>theong> proportionality ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir being coveredcan be demonstrated”. Annex 2 ong>ofong> ong>theong> report lists possible future exemptions orlighter regime for SMEs and micro-enterprises including ong>theong> “possibility to replaceong>theong> systematic documentationong>ofong> risk assessment for micro-enterprises dealing withlow risk activities by a proportionate risk-based approach could be examined”. 202In response to this report, UEAPME, ong>theong> European Associationong>ofong> Crafts, Smalland Medium Enterprises, published a position paper dated 27 January 2012highlighting its strong disagreement with ong>theong> suggestionong>ofong> exempting microenterprisesand SMEs from ong>theong> written risk assessment procedure. 203 While fullysupporting simplificationong>ofong> procedures ong>ofong> record keeping, it highlights thatong>theong>principle ong>ofong> exempting SMEs from obligations goes against ong>theong> “Think SmallFirst” principle, which states that legislation should be tailored to ong>theong> needs ong>ofong>SMEs and not apply only to large companies while leaving SMEs in a legislativevacuum at EU level.Similarly, on 30 June 2010, ong>theong> European social partners in ong>theong> constructionindustry (namely ong>theong> European Federationong>ofong> Building and Woodworkers andong>theong>European Construction Industry Federation), representing a particularly dangeroussector from an OSH perspective, published a position paper which stated that “ong>theong>adoptionong>ofong> ong>theong> recommendations as proposed by ong>theong> HLG could endanger one ong>ofong>ong>theong> main EU social policy pillars, namely occupational healthandsafety”. 204 Itcriticised in particular ong>theong> recommendation to exempt certain companies fromwritten risk assessment procedures, explaining thatong>theong> risk level in small firms inong>theong> construction sector is by no means lower than that in larger companies and that,since ong>theong> construction sector is characterized by firms ong>ofong> different sizes working201 European Commission, Opinionong>ofong> ong>theong> High-Level Group, Subject: Administrativeburden reduction; priority area Working environment / Employment relations, Brussels,29.05.2009, p13.202 European Commission, Minimizing regulatory burden for SMEs – Adapting EUregulation to ong>theong> needs ong>ofong> micro-enterprises, COM(2011) 803 final, Brussels, 23.11.2011203 UEAPME, Position Paper, UEAPME positiononong>theong> Report from ong>theong> Commission to ong>theong>Council andong>theong> European Parliament ”Minimizing regulatory burden for SMEs –Adapting EU regulation to ong>theong> needs ong>ofong> micro-enterprises” (COM (2011) 803 final ong>ofong>23.11.2011), Brussels, 27.01.2012204 Joint Position Paper ong>ofong> ong>theong> European Social Partners in ong>theong> Construction Industry, On ong>theong>findings ong>ofong> ong>theong> High Level Group (HLG) onong>theong> Action Programme for reducingAdministrative Burdens in ong>theong> European Union, COM(2007) 23 final, Brussels, 30.06.2010http://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
170 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-2012170togeong>theong>r, this distinction would de facto mean a discrimination with regard to ong>theong>right to physical integrity between workers ong>ofong> small and larger companies.Public HealthEnvironmentCoherence with future EU policy agendasThe links between a European ong>strategyong> focused onong>theong> promotionong>ofong> healthandsafetyatong>theong> workplace and a European policy agenda focused in general onong>theong>promotionong>ofong> better healthand well-being should continue to be strengong>theong>ned in ong>theong>future. As illustrated in section 6.2, several trends have developed over ong>theong> past 20years in ong>theong> world ong>ofong> work, which have made this link all ong>theong> more relevant. Thisemphasizes ong>theong> need for a holistic policy onworkplace health promotionand activeageing, as already highlighted in ong>theong> current Public Health Strategy 2008-2013. 205The Commission is currently preparing its proposal for a 7th Environment ActionProgramme (EAP), building onong>theong> conclusions ong>ofong> ong>theong> final assessment ong>ofong> ong>theong> 6thEAP. The latter mentions ong>theong> links between ong>theong> 6th EAP andhealth policies but notspecifically occupational health. The 7th EAP is currently in consultation stage andits main components are described in ong>theong> consultation paper publicly available forcomments. 206 The first commitment ong>ofong> ong>theong> upcoming 7th EAP is ong>theong> improvementong>ofong> implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> extensive legislation corpus in ong>theong> field ong>ofong> environmentprotectionand, as part ong>ofong> this, improving enforcement mechanisms, such asinspections. As with REACH inspections, ong>theong> coordinationong>ofong> different inspectionservices is an area where ong>theong> synergies between OSH and environmental policiesshould be exploited.Anoong>theong>r major aspect ong>ofong> ong>theong> 7th EAP is ong>theong> improvement ong>ofong> healthand well-beingthrough a better environment. It highlights ong>theong> importance ong>ofong> ong>theong> properimplementationong>ofong> ong>theong> REACH regulationandong>theong> regulationon classification,labelling and packaging ong>ofong> substances and mixtures (CLP) for ong>theong> risk managementong>ofong> intentionally produced chemical substances as well as concerns related tonanomaterials, endocrine disruptors and multiple exposures. The emphasis onong>theong>seissues reinforces ong>theong> opinion that links to environmental protection policies, inparticular REACH, should be strengong>theong>ned in future EU OSH policies.Research The next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, to follow FP 7,will be ong>theong> Horizon 2020 programme. 207 It is inscribed in ong>theong> Europe 2020 agendaas it is ong>theong> main instrument to implement ong>theong> Innovation Union flagship initiative.It will run from 2014 to 2020 with an €80 billion budget, including €31.7 billionfor ong>theong> third pillar, Better Society, which will address inter alia issues related to anageing population, healthand well-being and inclusive societies. Workers’ healthandsafety could also be addressed through ong>theong> second pillar, CompetitiveIndustries, which will look inter alia at Key Enabling Technologies (e.g.205 European Commission, White Paper – Togeong>theong>r for Health: A Strategic Approach forong>theong> EU 2008-2013, COM(2007) 630 final, Brussels, 23.10.2007206 European Commission, Consultation document, EU environment policy priorities for2020: Towards ong>theong> seventh EU Environment Action Programme.207 European Commission, DG Research & Innovation, Horizon 2020 website:http://ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/index_en.cfm?pg=home (last visited 22.05.2012)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