10 Dec
health and safety European Council December 2019

Improving health and safety at work: the European Council adopts conclusions (2021-2027)

The European Council today (10 December) adopted conclusions inviting the Commission to present a new EU strategic framework on occupational safety and health (OSH) at work for 2021-2027 and offering the Council’s input into that strategic framework.

The conclusions recognise that some positive results have been achieved, as many member states have adopted national action plans based on the existing framework.

The Commission, the member states and social partners are invited to intensify their efforts in the area of the changing world of work, including on psychological risks, work-related accidents and diseases and the inclusion of disabled and older workers.

Key points

These are some of the main conclusions adopted:

In order to address the challenge of the changing world of work:

-Strive to improve the protection of all workers, in particular workers in atypical forms of employment and workers in vulnerable situations aiming to cover and protect them appropriately and adequately by OSH measures.

-Address the new OSH-related risks of changing work practices and technologies effectively and proactively, also in EU-funded projects and programmes, as appropriate.

-Build more comprehensively on the evidence and data in order to improve OSH strategies, action plans, legislation and guidance.

In order to help SMEs and microenterprises, while decreasing the unnecessary administrative burden, to appropriately protect their workers and to turn OSH measures into increases in performance and productivity, to

-Establish an EU action plan and national action plans to effectively address the implementation challenges of OSH obligations. These action plans may be part of the EU
strategic framework on OSH and national OSH strategies.

-Develop on the basis of actual needs, tailor-made tools, notably on-line-tools such as OIRA, to help micro enterprises and SMEs to integrate OSH issues into their strategies, risk assessment and risk management as well as to help them implement OSH measures in everyday work.

-Use EU funds, where appropriate, to promote the efficient implementation of OSH, by supporting, for instance, awareness raising, education and training .

Develop methods and SHARE knowledge and expertise on how to ensure, in supply chains, compliance with high OSH standards by subcontractors and within consortiums.

In order to address the challenge of psychosocial risks and work-related accidents and diseases, including MSDs, to

-Improve statistical methods, where relevant including indicators that are comparable across the EU, to measure and monitor OSH performance in terms of occupational accidents and diseases and psychosocial risk factors related to the working environment.

-Enhance co-operation between OSH, employment and health experts and competent authorities in order to take overall account of the opportunities, challenges and needs related to the guidance, treatment, rehabilitation and return to work of workers.

By: Estela Martín

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