European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2017: Promoting Sustainable Workplaces for all Ages

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The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) kicks off the European Week for Safety and Health at Work today. Running until 27 October, the week allows businesses, occupational safety and health experts and workers to come together and exchange best practices on sustainable work and healthy ageing, as part of the ‘Healthy Workplaces for All Ages’ campaign.

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In line with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, EU-OSHA promotes fair working conditions and assists employers and workers to address their challenges.

Promoting safe and healthy workplaces for people of all ages is vital to sustaining Europe’s workforce. Currently, workers exit the labour market at the age of 61 on average – much younger than the average official retirement age (65) set by many EU Member States.[1]

“Earlier this year, the European Commission launched the European Pillar of Social Rights - 20 principles about equal opportunities and access to labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. EU-OSHA strongly supports these principles through promoting good practices, assisting employers and workers to address challenges together, and creating many practical tools and guidance materials aimed at risk assessment and life-long learning, among others.” said Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA.

Since early 2016, EU-OSHA’s national focal points, official campaign partners and campaign media partners have supported the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign. Many of the focal points host special events this week, including a conference for journalists and experts about the current situation of work in Luxembourg, a press conference in Hungary about results of the Good Practice Awards, and a conference in Lithuania titled ‘Safe workplaces for all ages’. In Estonia, the 19th Health and Safety Day Seminar will gather 300 participants. Dozens of events will take place in many different countries throughout the week.

EU-OSHA’s Official campaign partners are also hosting events across Europe. In Poland, the Medicover ‘Wellbeing team’ continues two months of awareness-raising events promoting preventive actions. The offices of ZF TRW Active & Passive Safety Technology are initiating tailored activities such as providing medical exams or giving ergonomic and sport advice sessions to workers. Their office in Romania will sponsor a ‘family health’ day.

Media partner Safety Focus organises three events in several locations throughout Italy in October - including one titled ‘Farming, Healthy Workplaces for All Ages’ and IOSH Magazine organises a webinar for their members from different countries.

One of the highlights of EU-OSHA’s work throughout the campaign is the recently released Joint Report ‘Towards age-friendly work in Europe: a life-course perspective on work and ageing from EU Agencies’. Coordinated by EU-OSHA, the report has contributions from Cedefop[2], Eurofound[3] and EIGE[4]. This cross-agency collaboration highlights the diverse factors that impact the European workforce and the actions needed to keep the whole population healthy and active. It includes facts and figures, the latest EU legislation and employment trends, and places extra focus on the vocational education and training sector and gender in relation to work and ageing. This Joint Report follows many multilingual campaign resources made available by EU-OSHA, including an e-guide, data visualisation tool, Good Practices Award booklet, etc.

The European Week for Safety and Health at Work allows partners to share the campaign results built up over the past two years. These exchanges lead up to the Healthy Workplaces Summit next month, on 21-22 November, taking place in Bilbao, Spain.

Links:

See a list of European Week Events
Follow the European Week for Safety and Health Facebook event page
Find out more about the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign

[1] EU-OSHA, Cedefop, Eurofound and EIGE (2017), Joint report on Towards age-friendly work in Europe: a life-course perspective on work and ageing from EU Agencies, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

[2] European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)

[3] European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)

[4] European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)

Notes to editor:

1. The Healthy Workplaces for All Ages 2016-17 campaign raises awareness of the importance of good occupational safety and health management and risk prevention throughout the working life and of tailoring work to individual abilities — whether at the start of a worker’s career or at its close. Like previous Healthy Workplaces Campaigns, it is coordinated at national level by EU-OSHA’s focal points and supported by official campaign and media partners.

The campaign is launched on 15 April 2016. Key dates in the campaign calendar include the European Weeks for Safety and Health at Work (October 2016 and 2017) and the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards ceremony (April 2017). The campaign will end with the Healthy Workplaces Summit (November 2017), when all those who have contributed to the campaign will come together with EU-OSHA to take stock of the campaign’s achievements and the lessons learnt.

2. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work. The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organises pan-European awareness raising campaigns. Set up by the European Union in 1994 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU-28 Member States and beyond.

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Birgit Müller
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
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