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Health and Safety International Newsletter

News release - 8.10.2011

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is pleased to announce that its chair, Judith Hackitt, has been named as the president-elect of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) for 2013/14.

Judith, already an IChemE Council member, will first take up the role of deputy president in 2012-2013.

IChemE is the global professional membership organisation for people who have an interest in and relevant experience in chemical engineering. It is the only organisation to award Chartered Chemical engineer status.

Judith graduated from Imperial College London, UK, in 1975 as one of only four female chemical engineers in her cohort. She initially joined Exxon Chemical as a graduate engineer and moved up through the ranks, in several operations management roles at Fawley refinery, the largest in the UK.

Judith also worked at the Chemicals Industry Association (CIA) and was appointed its director general from 2002-2006. She then became the implementation director for the Chemistry for Europe project at the European Chemical Industry Council, taking a leading role in developing the EU's REACH chemicals regulations.

Judith has played an important role in IChemE's Flash Bang campaign to promote more exciting science experiments in schools.

Judith said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to take on the role of President in 2013. I certainly intend to continue to champion the importance of chemical engineers around the world delivering process safety, but this is only one of several challenges facing our profession and over the next year I will be giving careful thought to what I want to achieve during my presidency,"

News release - 2.11.2011

New figures published today show the ongoing trend for falls in the number of people injured and made unwell at work has continued.

The statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that in Britain between April 2010 and March 2011:

  • 24,726 major injuries were reported, such as amputations, fractures and burns, to employees - a rate of 99 injuries per 100,000 workers - compared with 26,268 in 2009/10.
  • 90,653 other injuries serious enough to keep people off work for four or more days were reported - a rate of 363.1 injuries per 100,000 workers - down from 96,427 the previous year.
  • An estimated 1.2 million people said they were suffering from an illness caused or made worse by their work, down from 1.3 million in 2009/10. Of these, 500,000 were new illnesses occurring in-year.
  • 171 workers fatally injured - up from 147 the previous year.

The new data confirms that Britain continues to have the lowest rate of fatal occupational injuries in Europe as well as one of the lowest levels of work-related ill health.

Judith Hackitt, HSE's Chair, said:

"The fall in the number of people being injured by work is of course to be welcomed but we did also see an increase in the number of fatalities during the year. Britain can be proud that it has one of the best health and safety records in Europe but as the increase in the number of fatalities makes clear we can never let up in our commitment to addressing the serious risks which continue to cause death and injury in workplaces. HSE will continue to work with employers, employees and other organisations to maintain and, where necessary improve, health and safety standards. We all have a responsibility to make sure serious workplace risks are sensibly managed."

The construction (173.2 major injuries per 100,000 employees) and agricultural (221.9 major injuries per 100,000 employees) industries continue to report the highest levels of work-related injuries, with disproportionately high numbers of incidents.

The toll of injury and ill-health resulted in 26.4 million working days being lost, an average of 15 days per case - 22.1 million to ill-health and 4.4 million to injury.

News release - 26.10.2011

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) presented its third Healthy Workplaces Film Award at the 54th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (DOK Leipzig). This year the prize for the best documentary on work-related topics was won by Carmen Losmann of Germany for her film Work Hard - Play Hard, an exploration of modern theories of work organisation and management.

Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA said that “with the Healthy Workplaces Film Award we want to promote the importance of workplace health and safety across Europe by challenging and encouraging filmmakers to create and showcase documentaries on the issue. Work Hard – Play Hard is a worthy winner, reflecting on key questions in today’s modern working world.” Part of EU-OSHA’s pan-European Healthy Workplaces Campaign, the award is endowed with an 8,000 Euro prize fund.

The thought-provoking film Work Hard – Play Hard, which also received the prize of the ecumenical jury and the FIPRESCI, inspired audiences to discuss one of the most important issues of our time - the individuality and personality of today’s workforce. Awarding the prize the jury commented: “In considering modern theories of work organisation and management, it raises the wider issues of the place of the individual. The film encourages the audience to question our relentless pursuit of the Holy Grail - the motivation, the journey and the destination of maximum productivity and efficiency at all costs.” Carmen Losmann expressed her delight at receiving the award for her film which she said reflected modern society through its exploration of today’s workplaces.

Ten films from international filmmakers were nominated, showing working conditions in a range of industries including construction, production, finance and health. The films documented both the physical, psychological and economic consequences of unfavourable working conditions. The jury also gave special mention to Brazil’s Caio Cavechini and Carlos Juliano Barros for their courageous film To The Bone, which explored working conditions in Brazil’s meat processing factories.

The nominated films were selected from a record number of 3,012 documentaries from 100 countries submitted to the festival this year. During the course of the week, a record number of 38,000 visitors attended DOK Leipzig, Germany’s largest documentary film festival. The 2010 Award was presented to Czech Director Tomas Kudrna for his film All that Glitters about working conditions in a goldmine in an inhospitable region of Kyrgyzstan. The first edition in 2009 was presented to Dutch Director Ton Van Zantvoort for A Blooming Business, showing the painful working conditions in a globalised flower industry.

For more information on the Healthy Workplaces Film Award, visit:

For more information about the DOK Leipzig Festival, visit:

Nominated films 2011

• Made in China, Jian Du, China

• Machine Man, Roser Corella, Alfonso Moral, Spain

• The Desert Eats Us, Kesang Tseten Lama, Nepal

• To The Bone, Caio Cavechini, Carlos Juliano Barros, Brazil

• Nothing More Than That Giovanna Massimetti, Paolo Serbandini, Italy

• Work Hard - Play Hard, Carmen Losmann, Germany

• Empire Of Dust, Bram van Paesschen, Belgium

• Doctors, Tomasz Wolski, Poland

• Insurance Man, Klaus Stern, Germany

• A pestering journey, K. R. Manoj, India

International Jury 2011

• Dieter Schumann (Germany)

• Peter Rimmer (UK)

• Alex Lee (New Zealand)

News release - 12.09.2011

Officially launched today at the XIX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Istanbul, the Online interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) project marks the first initiative at EU level to facilitate workplace risk assessment. Developed by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the innovative tool will help Europe’s 20 million micro and small enterprises to improve safety and health for their workers by assessing risks through an easy-to-use and cost-free web application.

Experience shows that proper risk assessment is the key to healthy workplaces,” explains Dr Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA. “Yet carrying out risk assessments can be quite challenging, particularly for small enterprises as they lack adequate resources or the know-how to do so effectively. The reasons companies give for not carrying out checks are lack of expertise (41%), the belief that risk assessments are too expensive or that they are overly time consuming (38%). In OiRA, EU-OSHA is proud to offer a free online tool to overcome these challenges. OiRA contributes to eliminating or reducing the 168 000 work-related deaths, 7 million accidents and 20 million cases of work-related disease annually in the EU 27”, says Dr Takala.

The vision of EU-OSHA’s landmark project is to assist small enterprises in putting in place a step-by-step risk assessment process – starting with the identification and evaluation of workplace risks, through to the decision making on preventive action, identification of adequate measures, to continued monitoring and reporting. The aim is to reduce the burden for small enterprises of carrying out and documenting their risk assessments easily and quickly while maintaining accuracy.

EU-OSHA is working closely with the authorities and social partners at EU and national level to put the OiRA tool generator at their disposal,” continues Dr Takala. “In turn, these partners will develop their own sector-specific and fully customisable OiRA tools and offer them for free to small enterprises.

The collaboration with key social partners also encourages widespread take-up and use of the tool at enterprise level and leads to the development of an OiRA community to share knowledge and experience. The final tool is backed by support and full guidance services provided by EU-OSHA to the developers.

OiRA projects have been launched both at EU level and Member State level (Cyprus, Belgium and France), piloting the development and diffusion model and covering sectors such as hairdressing and transport.

Based on the successful Dutch Risk Inventory & Evaluation instrument, the OiRA tool sets out to replicate this success across Europe. Since the creation of the Dutch online tool (, there have been a total of 1.6 million visits to the website. This is an impressive number given that the Netherlands is a relatively small country with approximately 800 000 companies in total. The tool is downloaded an average of 5 000 times per month.


OiRA at the World OSH congress

More information on the OiRA project dedicated website:

News release - 24.10.2011

Safe maintenance will be the focus of the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, which this year will be marked from 24 to 28 October with a series of awareness-raising events, including workshops, seminars and exhibitions. The week is part of the Healthy Workplaces campaign, organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its partners across the EU and beyond.

‘The safe maintenance campaign is drawing record levels of involvement with our Europe-wide network of focal points and more than 50 companies and organisations that joined as Official Campaign Partners’, explains Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA. ‘Since April 2010, the campaign has mobilised some 10,000 people though more than a hundred partnership meetings and a series of media activities, to bring safe maintenance to the fore. Benefits for organisations of being a campaign partner include greater employee engagement (43%) and better networking activities (64%)’, she continues.

The European Week will consolidate these activities, with many of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign events focused around this week.

The new Safe Maintenance Magazine features articles demonstrating a wide range of maintenance-related issues that impact safety and health in the workplace, including maintenance organisation and planning, risk assessment, human behaviour, chemical safety, design, subcontracting, communication and inspection of personal protective equipment.

A wide variety of campaign material is available in 24 languages to download from the Healthy Workplaces Campaign website.

News release - 26.07.2011

Dr Christa Sedlatschek has been appointed as the next director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). She is currently Head of Initiatives, Programmes, Transfer and Network Management and Director of the Initiative for a New Quality of Work ( at the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).

Dr Sedlatschek’s appointment has been confirmed by the Bureau of EU-OSHA’s Governing Board following her nomination by the EU-OSHA Governing Board on 29 June and an exchange of views with members of the European Parliament on 13 July. She will take up her new post on 16 September 2011 and succeed Dr Jukka Takala who is retiring.

Károly György, chair of the Governing Board said: "Christa Sedlatschek has a strong track record in promoting better safety and health at work at both national and European levels. Having been strongly involved in EU-OSHA’s start-up, we are delighted to have her back on board and she is a worthy successor to Jukka Takala. She has the vision, experience and commitment to lead EU-OSHA and make use of the strength of its tripartite governance in the next stage of its development. We look forward to working with her to achieve higher levels of safety and health in working conditions.”

Dr Sedlatschek told members of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee, that as Agency Director she would focus on four priority areas. Firstly, on getting the message across and strengthening the marketing of occupational safety and health (OSH) as a ‘benefit for all’. Secondly, to stimulate the establishment of a preventive OSH culture in Europe. Thirdly, to network and cooperate with key stakeholders to develop and disseminate information that can be of use in their work at European and national level. And fourthly, to mainstream OSH into other policy areas such as education and training.

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Sedlatschek said: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed to lead EU-OSHA. I am fortunate to inherit from Jukka Takala an agency with an excellent reputation and a highly motivated and expert staff. My overriding aim is to ensure that EU-OSHA continues to combine scientific excellence with practical solutions that can really contribute to making Europe’s workplaces safer, healthier and more productive. ”


Dr Christa Sedlatschek is a medical doctor (University of Vienna) and a specialist in occupational health.

After completing her studies she started working in the Austrian labour inspectorate and moved to the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs in 1993, taking over the function as Deputy Head of the department for occupational medicine.

In 1998 she was recruited by EU-OSHA where she focused on the development and dissemination of good practice information, becoming the head of the working environment unit. During that time she gained an in-depth knowledge about the EU and existing occupational safety and health (OSH) systems in the Member States.

In 2003 she moved to Berlin and started working in the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin - BAuA), where she became Director of the national “Initiative New Quality of Work - INQA” in 2004.

“INQA” was launched by the German Federal Ministry for labour and social affairs as a consequence of the Lisbon Summit in 2000, aiming at making a contribution towards creating more and better jobs in Europe.

Christa Sedlatschek has always focused her work within the field of OSH on the transfer of research and development information to the company level. She is convinced that the gap between existing knowledge and sustainable implementation of OSH in companies has to be bridged and in that context EU-OSHA has a key role.

News release - 07.06.2011

In the second year of EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces Campaign on safe maintenance, the number of official campaign partners has now risen to 52 as seven more pan-European organisations and multinational companies from a range of public and private sectors have joined: AEIP, CPME, Dupont, ECTA, EORNA, Golder Associates and UEPG.

As many as 20% of all workplace accidents in Europe are connected with maintenance, with organisations across the continent increasingly aware that action is necessary to combat hazards related to maintenance. With this in mind, over a quarter (26.8%) of the partners have cited the improvement of safe and healthy work conditions for employees and employers alike, as the main reason for their participation in the Campaign. The partners identified further reasons for their participation, such as aiming to engage their own workers and/or members in managing safety and health (16.01%), or sharing good practices (5.39%). Other partners associated their participation as an opportunity to work closely with other like-minded organisations (14.4%).

“Renowned companies, organisations and associations from a wide range of sectors such as the chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing and construction, among many others, have joined our Campaign”, Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA said. “We are delighted that the issue of safe maintenance has been incorporated in industries and workplaces across Europe helping transform the daily lives of workers. I’d like to welcome our 7 new ‘ambassadors’ and look forward to working in cooperation with them for the remainder of the campaign”.

Since the start of the campaign on 28th April 2010, good practice in safe maintenance has been promoted by the partners all around Europe through a wide variety of activities. The many seminars and conferences across Europe touched on specific topics, such as the latest OSH products and services available to help improve conditions in workplaces throughout the continent. One of the partners also invented a scheme that develops, assesses and certifies the competency of personnel responsible for the installation and maintenance of equipment in hazardous areas. Today this tool is operated not only within the EU but in locations across the globe.

The new Official Campaign Partners will be recognised during a ceremony on the 22nd and 23rd November in Bilbao, which also plays host to the closing event of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/11 on safe maintenance.

For more information about campaign partners and their activities as well as a wide range of information resources on safe maintenance, visit the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/11 official website:

News release - 28.06.2011

The wellbeing of the European workforce is key to a sustainable economic recovery, according to the head of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).

Correction (07/07/2011)

An earlier version of this news release contained typing errors concerning the costs of people being excluded from work in some language versions - the sentence should read: ‘For the whole of the EU, we can estimate the production loss from people being excluded from work on health and disability grounds at 3,000 billion Euros – every year. For comparison, the emergency measures that were introduced to stabilise the Greek economy cost in the range of 110 billion Euros, and those for Ireland 85 billion, just as a one-off.’

3,000 billion Euros is equal to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of Germany, the biggest economy in Europe in 2010.

Introducing his last Annual Report as Agency Director, Dr Jukka Takala emphasised the danger that the economic crisis might push people out of employment permanently, and that huge numbers might find themselves excluded from the job market, because of long-term ill health. ‘For the whole of the EU, we can estimate the production loss from people being excluded from work on health and disability grounds at 3,000 billion Euros – every year. For comparison, the emergency measures that were introduced to stabilise the Greek economy cost in the range of 110 billion Euros, and those for Ireland 85 billion, just as a one-off.’

For Dr Takala, it is important that future economic growth should be inclusive, creating conditions that enable people to continue at work, safely and healthily. ‘We need to ensure not just that current jobs are safe, healthy and productive; we should strive towards a safe, healthy, productive, sustainable, satisfying and motivating working life.’

The Annual Report for 2010 emphasises the ways in which the Agency has continued to work to protect the safety and health of European workers, in spite of these difficult economic conditions. One highlight has been the opening of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Safe Maintenance – the Agency’s two-year health and safety campaigns are now the largest of their kind in the world. The Safe Maintenance Campaign has seen record numbers of partner organisations being involved in it.

The Agency has also published the results of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER), which, for the first time, provides real-time data from enterprises across Europe on what they are doing to tackle occupational risks (specifically psychosocial risks).

Another highlight of 2010 was the Agency’s piloting of the Online interactive Risk Assessment tool (OiRA), which is the legacy of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Risk Assessment 2008-09. The OiRA tool, which the Agency is making available for free, will help many thousands of small companies across the EU to carry out risk assessments in a simple and cost-effective way.

Looking ahead, highlights of 2011 include the second year of the Safe Maintenance Campaign, including the closing event in November. The Agency continues with the detailed study of the results of the ESENER survey, and planning is being carried out for the next Healthy Workplaces Campaign – for 2012-2013 – on the subject of working together for risk prevention.


Annual Report 2010 (English)

Summary (available in 24 languages)

News release - 19.05.2011

For the third consecutive year, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) is putting the spotlight on safe and healthy working conditions with its Healthy Workplaces Film Award. Entries to the award are now open, with a prize fund of 8,000 Euro at stake for the best documentary on work-related topics. The winner will be announced at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (DOK Leipzig) in October.

“Through sponsoring the award, we are looking to promote the importance of safe and healthy workplaces across Europe in a thought-provoking way,” says EU-OSHA Director, Jukka Takala. “By challenging and encouraging filmmakers to create and showcase documentaries on the topic, we are bringing these key messages to a wider audience through an informative, yet imaginative means. The films highlight the importance of workplace safety through, documenting real-life experiences.”

Previous entries have covered a range of work-related topics, including the physical, psychological and economic consequences of unfavourable working conditions. The 2010 award was presented to Czech Director Tomáš Kudrna for his film about a Kyrgyzstan goldmine, All That Glitters. Accepting the prize, Tomas Kudrna said: “The film shows the importance of strict safety precautions when working at altitude with dangerous chemicals to extract gold from rock. It was a great honour to receive the award to bring this topic to the fore.”

Part of EU-OSHA’s pan-European Healthy Workplaces Campaign, the award is endowed with an 8,000 Euro prize fund. As an added reward, 1,000 copies of the winning film will also be produced in 22 EU languages, plus Norwegian and Icelandic, by EU-OSHA and distributed across Europe.

Directors are invited to submit their films by 10 July 2011(*) for their chance at the prize. The winning film will be selected by an international jury, comprising leading film professionals and OSH experts, during the DOK Leipzig festival.

For more information on the award, the submission criteria and how to enter, please visit our web section or go to

News release - 11.05.2011

People working in the road transport sector face many more risks than just the danger of having a collision – that is the message of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), which is today launching a new website to help keep drivers safe. Coinciding with the launch of the United Nation’s (UN) Decade of Action on Road Safety 2011-2020, EU-OSHA provides access to a series of reports and other resources to help meet the challenges of managing health and safety in the road transport sector.

In 2009 more than a thousand lorry drivers died in crashes in Europe, 60% of them were light duty lorry drivers [1]. Bicycle and motorcycle couriers, van and lorry drivers, chauffeurs, and bus and coach drivers are particularly at risk of dying in a road accident or suffering non-fatal injuries. As well as death and injury in collisions, these workers face serious risks from handling loads, slips and falls from vehicles, exposure to vibration, and robbery and violence, among others.

Yet making drivers in the road transport sector aware of the risks they face, and what they can do about them, can be challenging. Drivers generally operate alone, and they are often used to very independent ways of working. Most companies in the sector are small enterprises employing fewer than ten workers, and many drivers are self-employed.

EU-OSHA’s new web section gives access to a wide range of resources, covering the risks faced by workers in the road transport sector, and practical examples, from across Europe and beyond, of campaigns and initiatives that have improved occupational safety and health (OSH) among drivers. Some of the material deals with the issues facing specific groups within the sector, such as delivery and despatch riders, taxi drivers, and drivers in road haulage and passenger transport.

Successful OSH initiatives in road transport are generally those that take account of how the sector operates in practice. Advice and solutions need to be based on drivers’ practical experience if they are to tackle the real problems effectively and engage drivers, including solutions that are developed by drivers for drivers. Working in partnership with employers, managers, vehicle operators, loading staff, and receivers and dispatchers of goods, as well as with the social partners and road safety organisations, has also proven itself effective.

As EU-OSHA Director Jukka Takala points out, ‘with the right approach, it is possible to raise awareness of risk and promote good practice in the road transport sector. And quite apart from reducing the human cost of accident and injury, this can bring financial benefits to businesses, no matter what their size – with fewer days lost to injury, fewer vehicles off the road for repair, fewer missed orders, and less time and paper work to investigate and follow-up accidents. I am sure that the materials on our new website will provide support and inspiration to everyone who is looking to improve safety and health in road transport.’

The reports include a review of programmes and campaigns to reach and influence the road transport sector on OSH matters, case studies of prevention practices covering road haulage and bus passenger transport, reviews of good practice guidance available for the taxi sector and courier activities by motorcycle and bicycle, and a review of road transport accidents. Two factsheets on campaigning and managing risks to drivers are available in 24 languages at An OSH in figures report that covers all transport sectors (rail, water, air and road) was published in March 2011.

[1] DG Transport (MOVE), Road safety, CARE database – reports - Road fatalities by country, data 2009, by mode of transport 


New web feature: OSH of road transport drivers

Rail, Air and Water Transport at a glance

Decade of Action for Road Safety

News release - 28.04.2011

At the 10th European Good Practice Awards, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) recognised and rewarded the outstanding contribution to safe maintenance made by eight organisations and companies from across Europe. Part of EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Safe Maintenance, the awards were presented at a ceremony hosted by the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (28th April).

Entries were received from organisations of all sizes, and from a wide variety of industrial sectors, keen to demonstrate and share their good practice examples. A new booklet published today showcases the good practices implemented by the eight winners and fifteen commended companies.

“The winning companies and organisations have made exceptional contributions to promoting safe maintenance good practice,” said László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. “These good practices are in line with our Community Strategy on Health and Safety at Work (2007–2012) which - as well as targeting occupational ill health - aims to cut work-related accidents by a quarter across the EU.”

Welcoming the positive economic impact of safe maintenance, Mr Kolos Kardkovács, Secretary of State for Employment, representing the Hungarian EU Presidency, said: “A lack of proper maintenance can have serious safety consequences, ultimately impacting productivity and profitability. By according sufficient time and resources to safe maintenance, the award winners are proactively protecting the interests of their businesses and their employees for years to come.”

Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA, praised the high quality of the entries: “Our network of focal points in participating Member States and Turkey received hundreds of good practice examples, with the very best national examples taken forward to the European level Good Practice Awards. The eight winners and fifteen commended companies all demonstrate the crucial role regular maintenance plays in eliminating workplace hazards and managing risks, underlining the key messages of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign.”

The eight winners are Voestalpine Hytronics GmbH and Voestalpine Weichensysteme GmbH (Austria, iron and steel production) for their use of technology and organisation to achieve safer maintenance; Protón Electrónica SLU (Spain, electrical equipment) for coordinating repair and maintenance with the client; Actavis Ltd (Malta, pharmaceutical products) for its proactive and reactive interventions to improve maintenance safety; Skellefteå Räddningstjänst (Sweden, fire services) for its development of safe work routines for firefighters; Sonae (Portugal, retail trade) for its management of preventative and corrective maintenance; GHT - Glass Handling Technic Vof (Netherlands, Horticulture) for maintaining and repairing horticultural glasshouses safely and effectively; Tarmac Quarry Materials (United Kingdom, mining and quarrying) for its competent maintenance teams and STIB-MIVB (Belgium, transport) for its comprehensive approach to maintenance starting from the design of the work area.


European Good Practice Awards 2010-11

European Good Practice Award Booklet

Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Safe Maintenance

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

International Labour Organisation

News release - 31.01.2011

Violence, bullying and harassment are becoming increasingly common features of European workplaces, according to a new report by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). Yet the response from organisations and national governments is widely felt to be inadequate.

Third party violence and harassment affect from 5% to 20% of European workers, depending on the country, sector, and methodology employed. The report ‘Workplace Violence and Harassment: a European Picture’ includes international statistics collected by the European Risk Observatory, part of EU-OSHA. Its recent pan-European workplace survey ESENER shows that 40% of European managers are concerned by workplace violence and harassment, but only around 25% have implemented procedures to deal with it - in many EU countries not more than 10%. The problem is even more acute in health and social work and in education with more than 50% of managers identifying it as a health and safety problem.

“Both violence and harassment represent serious but under-reported threats to the safety and wellbeing of workers in Europe”, says Agency Director Jukka Takala. “Violence, verbal aggression or threats that employees experience with customers or patients are critical health and safety issues. And the psychological consequences are sometimes more dangerous than physical wounds. Workplace harassment can lead to stress, long-term sick leave, and even suicide. Economic consequences are reduced productivity, increased sickness absence, higher turnover of staff and premature retirement due to disability at often early ages.”

The report also reveals that in many European countries there is still not enough recognition of workplace violence, with few specific initiatives dealing with the issue. At national level and among individual organisations there is a need to raise awareness, and put in place policies and procedures to tackle and prevent violence and harassment at work.

EU-OSHA brought together policy makers, researchers and employers’ and employees’ representatives in a two-day seminar to discuss the challenges in tackling workplace violence effectively, and to identify new and concrete ways to protect workers’ health and wellbeing, tailored to specific needs in countries and organisations.


Full report ‘Workplace Violence and Harassment: a European Picture’ (English)

Read a summary of the seminar

European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER)

Stress at work

News release - 25.11.2010

With statistics showing that between 10 and 15 per cent of all fatal workplace accidents in Europe are linked to maintenance operations, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has joined forces with the Belgian EU Presidency to host a conference in Brussels today which shows how safe maintenance can increase occupational health and safety standards.

The conference ‘Maintenance: Do It Safely’ coincides with the release of EU-OSHA’s report, Safe Maintenance in Practice, outlining key strategies businesses should adopt to prevent maintenance risks. EU-OSHA Director Dr. Jukka Takala said, ‘these strategies include ensuring management is committed to a safety culture and the provision of clear working procedures, involving employees in safety, conducting a risk assessment and safety training, as well as implementing preventive measures’. The report details best practice examples of safe maintenance including that of the Air France engine maintenance workshops which now feature a simulation tool to help identify safety, ergonomic or production issues at the design stage.

The conference features not only a series of workshops, roundtable discussions and expert meetings, but will see Official partners of EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces Campaign recognized for their commitment to safe maintenance. The partners include a wide range of corporations and associations from the private and public sector, including some of Europe’s most well known companies.

At the conference event, entrepreneurs and OSH experts from all across Europe will share best practice ideas aimed to make maintenance operations safer, whether they are from government, large corporations or SMEs. For example, one workshop ‘Safe Maintenance through Design’ will tackle the question how accidents can be reduced through better design and planning of work and workplaces as well as through the use of modern technologies.


Report Safe Maintenance in Practice (English)

Factsheet (available in 22 languages)

Maintenance at a glance

Healthy Workplaces campaign on safe maintenance