Health and safety pays, even in difficult times

In its latest annual report, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
continues to argue for investment in workplace health and safety, for economic
as well as ethical reasons.

'Now more than ever we need to make the case for 'good work' in safe and
healthy workplaces', according to the head of the European Agency for Safety
and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). In her first annual report as director, Dr
Christa Sedlatschek describes the new pressures to cut back on occupational
safety and health (OSH) in a harsher economic climate; 'for many companies,
simply surviving in business has become their main focus. Organisations need to
remember, though, that good workplace health and safety is vital, not only for
ethical reasons, but also for economic competitiveness.'

As the annual report makes clear, EU-OSHA continued in 2011 to reach new
audiences with messages about the importance of OSH, and continued to argue
that, even in difficult times, devoting time and resources to OSH is an
investment, not a cost, and good OSH is good for business.

Highlights of the year include developments in the Agency's flagship Foresight
project, which is aiming to anticipate longer-term workplace risks (initially
in relation to 'green' jobs), and help decision-makers to take action to
prevent them.

Another main project has been the European Survey of Enterprises on New and
Emerging Risks (ESENER), which, for the first time, gives us a real-time
picture of how some important workplace risks are being managed in Europe. In
2011 the process began of carrying out secondary analysis of the data that the
survey collected.

2011 saw the official launch 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 generator, which the Agency is making
available for free, will help small companies across the EU to carry out risk
assessments in a simple and cost-effective way.

The Agency also produced a number of publications on good practices in OSH in
the road transport sector.

Finally, 2011 was the second and final year of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign
on Safe Maintenance. The Healthy Workplaces Campaigns are now the largest of
their kind in the world. The most recent campaign has seen record levels of
involvement, as it raised awareness of the importance of maintenance for
workers' safety and health, and the need to carry it out safely.

More information - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work