EU workplaces are safer and healthier than ever before, but every year there are still nearly 7 million workplace accidents and further millions suffer work related illness. The economic impact is estimated at €490 billion a year – more than half the current cost of the EU’s financial crisis bail-out fund.

Working together for risk prevention is the 2012-2013 campaign coordinated by the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OHSA), and FERMA is one of the official sponsors.

EU-OSHA promotes a culture of risk prevention to improve working conditions in Europe. Its latest campaign is especially relevant to risk managers because it turns the spotlight on the importance of management leadership and worker participation in improving workplace safety and health.

As FERMA executive manager Florence Bindelle explains: “Many FERMA members have oversight of health and safety in their own companies, but the importance of improving workplace safety goes much further than this. The health and safety standards of suppliers and distributors can also have an impact on the business continuity and reputation of their business partners.”

The current campaign focusses on:

  • Preventing risks
  • Managing risks
  • Encouraging top managers to engage actively in risk reduction
  • Encouraging workers, their representatives and other stakeholders to work with managers to reduce risks

The two-year campaigns by EU-OHSA have seen increasing levels of involvement since they began in 2000, and now involve hundreds of organisations from all EU Member States, the countries of the European Economic Area, and candidate and potential candidate countries.

EU-OSHA makes information, practical guides and tools, and publicity material freely available in more than 20 European languages.

Other highlights of each campaign include the Healthy Workplaces good practice awards competition, which recognises organisations that have found innovative ways of promoting safety and health, and the Healthy Workplaces closing summits, which bring health and safety professionals, and policymakers together, with employers’ and employees’ representatives, to share best practice.

The annual European week for safety and health at work in October every year, which FERMA promotes at the Forum and Seminar, is a particular focus for these events.

As the campaign statement says: “Final responsibility for managing risk lies with employers and top management, but their efforts are bound to fail without active worker participation. For these reasons, this campaign places special emphasis on the importance of leadership by top management and owners working in tandem with active worker participation.”

Other EU-OHSA projects of interest to FERMA members include:

New and emerging risks

The European Risk Observatory aims to identify new and emerging risks in occupational safety and health to improve prevention. It provides an overview of health and safety at work in Europe, describes trends and underlying factors, and looks at the future changes in work and their likely effect on occupational safety and health.

Practical solutions

EU-OHSA monitors, collects and analyses scientific findings, statistical information and prevention measures. It also supports the exchange and sharing of information.

Risk assessment tools database

EU-OHSA maintains a regularly updated database of risk assessment tools from all over Europe. Users can search for risk assessment tools in various ways, including by topic, sector or country.

Information is available in member languages via:”Healthy Workplace Campaign