A new publication from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work highlights the main priorities identified at a recent European workshop on the development of a new Community Strategy on Safety and Health at Work. Jointly organized by the Swedish Presidency, the European Commission and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the workshop brought together leading safety and health experts and decision-makers from the member states, the European institutions and social partners.
Concerning the state of occupational safety and health at work, European figures show that:
- 47% work in painful or tiring conditions
- 57% reported repetitive movements
- 37% are handling heavy loads
- 27% consider that their safety and health is at risk at work, and
- 60% think that their work affects their health.
The report summarizes findings on safety and health at work in different areas. Construction was found to be the top risk sector followed by fishery, transport and certain manufacturing industries, and the service sector, especially health and social work.
The report also summarizes a survey of consumers’ attitudes towards ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’. The survey found protecting the safety and health of workers to be the most important area of corporate responsibility, coming above human rights, job security, and protection of the environment. Up to 70% of those surveyed reported that they were prepared to ‘discriminate’ against products which did not carry out this type of protection. 50% would consider paying higher prices.
Conclusions and further points of discussion included providing more OSH knowledge in the professional training of architects, engineers, and business scholars in the hopes of avoiding problems at the source. Also recognized was a need for better, simpler and more practical legislation concerning safety and health at work.
The entire report is available as a .pdf download from the OSHA EU at http://agency.osha.eu.int/publications/forum/forum1/forum1_en.pdf.