02/12/2004

EU report on the practical implementation of the EU safety and health Framework Directive

The European Commission reports on the practical implementation of the
provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Directives. The report
providesevidence that the EU legislation has had clearly a positive influence
on the national standards for occupational safety and health. This does not
only refer to the sphere of legislation, but also to the practical application
in the enterprises and the institutions of the public sector. In general, the
EU legislation has contributed to instilling a culture of prevention.

At the same time, however, the report pinpoints miscellaneous flaws in the
application, holding back the achievement of the full potential of this
legislation. In several Member States attitudinal changes concerning the
behaviour and the awareness of the persons concerned still have to take place
before the concept of occupational safety and health will be fully implanted.

On the key characteristics of the legislation described in this report, various
imperfections have been detected.

  • Publicising and flanking of the new legislation is generally considered
    to be well advanced, although several Member States underline themselves
    already a need to step up information and advice activities to extend the
    application of the legislation.
  • The need for specific and comprehensible information and guidance as well
    as for easy access to specific and adequate technical assistance is
    particularly relevant for all types of enterprises, in particular SMEs.
  • A major innovation in the legislation consisted of the introduction of
    systematic risk assessments. The report underlines that the tasks of risk
    assessment, documentation and supervision are not universally spread. At the
    same time, there are concerns about the incomplete and superficial nature of
    the execution of the above mentioned tasks.
  • Despite the possibility created to work with internal and external
    protective and preventive systems, the evidence shows that there is not yet a
    general and adequate access of all enterprises across the European Union to
    protective and preventive
    services. Furthermore, given the fact that the aptitudes and competencies are
    not defined by EU legislation, but have been left up to the Member States, such
    services, in particular the external ones, lead to a great variety of quality
    provided.
  • For a preventive strategy to be successful, constructive participation of
    all actors is required. This implies that without the commitment of workers,
    the risk prevention potential remains unfulfilled. Despite the strong emphasis
    on information,
    consultation, participation, and training further support to extend the
    involvement of workers is required. Specific attention is needed for workplaces
    with workers from different enterprises.
  • Increasingly complex work processes and changes in working conditions
    create new risks, coexisting with the traditional ones, or changing types of
    hazard that call for occupational health and safety to form part of the overall
    management of enterprises. This report points to a deficit in the
    organisational structures for the improvement of health and safety in many
    enterprises.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work