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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 2007-2012169and 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 and ong>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 documentation ong>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 Association ong>ofong> Crafts, Smalland Medium Enterprises, published a position paper dated 27 January 2012highlighting its strong disagreement with ong>theong> suggestion ong>ofong> exempting microenterprisesand SMEs from ong>theong> written risk assessment procedure. 203 While fullysupporting simplification ong>ofong> procedures ong>ofong> record keeping, it highlights that ong>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 Federation ong>ofong> Building and Woodworkers and ong>theong>European Construction Industry Federation), representing a particularly dangeroussector from an OSH perspective, published a position paper which stated thatong>theong>adoption ong>ofong> ong>theong> recommendations as proposed by ong>theong> HLG could endanger one ong>ofong>ong>theong> main EU social policy pillars, namely occupational health and safety”. 204 Itcriticised in particular ong>theong> recommendation to exempt certain companies fromwritten risk assessment procedures, explaining that ong>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, Opinion ong>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 position on ong>theong> Report from ong>theong> Commission to ong>theong>Council and ong>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) on ong>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 on ong>theong> promotion ong>ofong> health andsafety at ong>theong> workplace and a European policy agenda focused in general on ong>theong>promotion ong>ofong> better health and 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 on workplace health promotion and 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 on ong>theong> conclusions ong>ofong> ong>theong> final assessment ong>ofong> ong>theong> 6thEAP. The latter mentions ong>theong> links between ong>theong> 6th EAP and health 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> implementation ong>ofong> ong>theong> extensive legislation corpus in ong>theong> field ong>ofong> environmentprotection and, as part ong>ofong> this, improving enforcement mechanisms, such asinspections. As with REACH inspections, ong>theong> coordination ong>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> health and well-beingthrough a better environment. It highlights ong>theong> importance ong>ofong> ong>theong> properimplementation ong>ofong> ong>theong> REACH regulation and ong>theong> regulation on 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 on ong>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, health and well-being and inclusive societies. Workers’ healthand safety 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

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