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 2007-201253› The role ong>ofong> guides in relation to oong>theong>r information material produced,including national guidance, should be brought into ong>theong>se considerations› The relevant institutions and organisations, not members ong>ofong> ong>theong> ACSH, shouldalso be involved in this process.Subcontracting and preventive servicesTwo specific issues were identified ong>theong> European Strategy as being ong>ofong> particularimportance with regard to ong>theong> implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> EU OSH legislation:› The presence atworkplaces ong>ofong> different levels ong>ofong> sub-contracting can cause alot ong>ofong> difficulties when it comes to applying OSH requirements as eachemployer tends to limit preventive measures to its own workers.› Access to prevention services should be facilitated, in particular for SMEs,especially when ong>theong> requisite expertise is not available within ong>theong> company.The Strategy mandated ong>theong> Commission to examine ong>theong>se two specific topics and toissue recommendations.On ong>theong> one hand, ong>theong> ACSH has set up a working party to deal with subcontractingissues. 46 However, despite ong>theong> fact that this particular problem was reiterated in ong>theong>ong>evaluationong> report onong>theong> implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> Construction Sites Directive in2008, very little has been done under this working party andong>theong> Commission hasacknowledged ong>theong> combined lack ong>ofong> actionong>ofong> ong>theong> Commissionandong>theong> ACSH onthis topic, which represents a major gap in ong>theong> implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> Strategy.On ong>theong> oong>theong>r hand, subcontracting was one ong>ofong> ong>theong> topics ong>ofong> discussionong>ofong> ong>theong> 2010SLIC Thematic Day. 47 In particular, ong>theong> OSH challenges ong>ofong> dealing withsubcontracting chains were discussed, including ong>theong> coordination difficulties,which increase ong>theong> level ong>ofong> risks, ong>theong> problems with long chains ong>ofong> subcontractingong>ofong> cooperation between employers (e.g. because ong>ofong> conflicting interests orcommunication problems, in particular with regard to migrant workers), ong>theong>dilutionong>ofong> ong>theong> responsibilities, ong>theong> lack ong>ofong> training ong>ofong> precarious workers in safetyprocedures, etc.The labour inspectors discussed ong>theong> possible solutions to remedy ong>theong>se problems, inparticular joint liability ong>ofong> all ong>theong> subcontracting chain employers (i.e. joint liabilityong>ofong> ong>theong> administration, managers and directors for ong>theong> payment ong>ofong> a fine wheneverong>theong> ong>ofong>fender is a corporate body; joint liability ong>ofong> ong>theong> contractor with ong>theong>subcontractors that perform all or part ong>ofong> ong>theong> contract in his premises or under hisresponsibility, for all very serious ong>ofong>fences committed by ong>theong> subcontractors;jointly liability ong>ofong> ong>theong> user ong>ofong> interim workers for all very serious ong>ofong>fences ong>ofong> ong>theong>interim agency). They also discussed ong>theong> methods/approaches ong>theong>y could take todeal with subcontracting issues in ong>theong>ir daily prong>ofong>essional lives, including:46 Mandate Sub-contracting, adopted on 25/06/2010 by ong>theong> Advisory Committee on Safetyand Health at Work, Doc 845/2010.47 Subcontracting: Challenges for Health and Safety and Labour Inspection, SLIC ThematicDay, Brussels, 22 November 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
54 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-201254› Use ong>ofong> legal possibilities provided by joint liability (e.g. fines are addressed todirect responsibles and to all actors with joint liability)› Final users are encouraged to assume a monitoring role (e.g. cooperation withlabour inspectors)› Integrated inspections: focus on all work components (premises, equipments,work procedures, working times, informationand training, wages, socialprotection)Subcontracting has been acknowledged by many stakeholders interviewed as anissue ong>ofong> crucial importance in certain high-risk sectors, such as construction, whichwould require a higher level ong>ofong> attention from ong>theong> Commission.On preventive services, two issues in particular require more investigationandpotential actionat EU level: ong>theong> quality ong>ofong> external preventive services as well asong>theong> additional costs that are involved in ong>theong> process ong>ofong> hiring external expertise forSMEs. These are common problems faced by many companies, small and large,across ong>theong> EU.On this topic, ong>theong> lack ong>ofong> action from ong>theong> Commissionandong>theong> ACSH is anoong>theong>rclear gap in ong>theong> implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> Strategy. It is all ong>theong> more regrettable thanong>theong> ground had been prepared before 2007 for actionon this issue. The 2004 reportonong>theong> practical implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> Framework Directive and several oong>theong>rindividual directives 48 mentioned some ong>ofong> ong>theong> common issues in ong>theong> EU-15 relatedto ong>theong> use ong>ofong> external preventive and protective services. In particular, ong>theong> reportnoted that:› There is not yet a systematic access ong>ofong> all enterprises to protective andpreventive services in Europe atong>theong> moment. The problems are especiallysignificant in relation to SMEs throughout ong>theong> whole ong>ofong> Europe.› There are significant difficulties due to ong>theong> fact thatong>theong> number ong>ofong> preventiveservice providers is far too limited to meet ong>theong> demand in some countries.› Practically all MS have problems with ong>theong> quality ong>ofong> external services. One ong>ofong>ong>theong> most important reasons for this is ong>theong> tendency onong>theong> part ong>ofong> ong>theong>enterprises to try to purchase ong>theong>se services as cheaply as possible.› It appears thatong>theong> existing protective and preventive services have a reducedcapacity to deal in a holistic approach with ong>theong> occupational risks.48 Commission Communicationonong>theong> Practical implementationong>ofong> ong>theong> provisions ong>ofong> ong>theong>Health and Safety at Work Directives 89/391 (Framework), 89/654 (Workplaces), 89/655(Work Equipment), 89/656 (Personal Protective Equipment), 90/269 (Manual handling ong>ofong>Loads) and 90/2720 (Display Screen Equipment), COM(2004) 62 final, Brussels, 5February 2004.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