European week of safety and health at work

The European week of safety and health at work in 2015, the main event of the campaign “Healthy workplaces – manage stress!”, began on the 19th of October. Across Europe, events will be held to mark the case and to draw attention to the stress and psychosocial risks on the workplace. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its network of partners aim to get Europe to speak about how with joint efforts we can deal with these risks.
EU-OSHA’s network of national focal points organizes numerous events in over 30 countries in order to promote the messages of the campaign. The topics include stress and psychosocial risks associated with working time, a new protocol for bullying and harassment, assessment of psychosocial risks in small businesses or the relationship between institutions for safety and health (OSH), the education sector and enterprises in the management of psychosocial risks. Conferences for presenting the activities carried out during the two years of the campaign are planned in Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Spain and Sweden.
The official campaign partners also plan some activities, such as the European network of the dangers at work (EWHN) will hold a manifestation for closing in Italy to discuss experiences and best practices from Italy and methods of prevention, evaluation and removal of the risks at European level; German provider In-A-D in services OSH will organize a conference on the risk assessment of mental overload, while the Federation of European societies in ergonomics (FEES) will dedicate its European day of “ergonomic management of work-related stress”. The emphasis will be on the workplace and in particular on the design of the workplace, risk assessments and prevention measures, as well as on issues of interpersonal relationships, such as bullying or harassment.
This year’s European Week continues with the theme “Healthy Workplaces – Manage Stress” and pays attention to two practical problems: sexual harassment and violence by third parties, which two informational graphics are prepared for. The first explains what sexual harassment is, the number of workers affected and what measures can be implemented by the companies to address this problem. The second described the violence by third parties – the most widespread occupational hazard for European companies, who is most affected, professions at risk and its impact on workers.
For its part, Bulgaria has marked European Week by holding a national conference “Healthy Workplaces – Manage Stress”, which took place on October 22, 2015, in “Sofia Hotel Balkan.” To participate in the conference were invited representatives of the ministries, Executive Agency “General Labour Inspectorate”, the National Insurance Institute, the social partners, companies, occupational health services and specialists in health and safety at work.
The conference was aimed at raising awareness, strengthening the role of prevention and encouragement of employers, employees and other stakeholders in the labor process to combine their efforts to improve health and safety at work by presenting good practices in the companies. The special focus was on identifying risks associated with stress and psychosocial factors at work, their evaluation and possibilities for their management.
Dr. Krista Sedláček, director of EU-OSHA, explains: “Although violence can affect any workplace and any worker, certain characteristics of the work increase these risks. Working in direct contact with clients, customers or others outside the organization increases the risk of violent incidents known as “violence by third parties.” ESENER-2 shows that the need to work with difficult clients, patients, students is identified as the most common risk factor in all European enterprises (57.4 per cent). ”
Other results from the ESENER-2 survey indicate that 76 percent of businesses in the EU-28 carry out regular risk assessments, and 90 percent of them consider them a useful way to manage safety and health. High levels of participation by employees (whether formally or informally) proved to be a strong indicator of the quality of work, including the quality of OSH management in general, and in particular the management of psychosocial risks.
Soon after the European Week, on 3rd and 4th of November 2015, in Bilbao, Spain, a Summit of the Healthy Workplaces 2015 will be held. Leading European experts and decision makers will discuss the final results of the two-year campaign, strategies and programs for stress management and psychosocial risks in the workplace and the future of health and safety at work in Europe. The event will be held in memory of Dr. Eusebio Rial Gonzalez, former head of the “Prevention and Research” of EU-OSHA, and the award of Eusebio Rial Gonzalez for innovation and practice in “Psychology of health at work” will be announced.
1.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 investigates, develops and distributes reliable, balanced and objective information about health and safety and organizes pan-European campaigns to raise awareness. Established by the European Union in 1994 with headquarters in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, organizations of employers and employees, as well as leading experts from all Member States of the EU-28 and beyond.
2.”Healthy Workplaces – Manage Stress” is a decentralized campaign open to organizations and individuals at local, national and European level. At the national level, it is coordinated by the focal points of EU-OSHA in more than 30 European countries and is supported by the official campaign partners – European and multinational organizations and media partners of the campaign.
In 2014 and 2015 EU-OSHA conducted a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of stress management and psychosocial risks on the workplace. Though tackling psychosocial risks and stress at work may seem challenging, this campaign aims to prove that they can be overcome by the same logical and systematic way that is used to overcome any problem related to safety and health at work. In view of this, the campaign “Healthy Workplaces” 2014-2015 has the following major objectives:
– To raise awareness of the growing problem of workplace stress and psychosocial risks;
– To provide and encourage the use of simple, practical tools and guidelines for the management of psychosocial risks and stress in the workplace;
– To highlight the positive impact of the management of psychosocial risks and stress in the workplace, including for the business.
3. The European research on new and emerging risks in enterprises (ESENER) of EU-OSHA is a comprehensive study of the way in which health and safety are being managed on workplaces in Europe. While there is evidence of accidents and ill health through studies of workers and reporting systems, little is known about the way in which risks to health and safety are managed in practice. By reporting the needs of the employers regarding support and expertise, and determining what can promote or hinder risk prevention, ESENER helps to fill this gap in knowledge. The first edition of the study was conducted in 2009.
In the second edition the answers of nearly 50 000 businesses were collected about the risks for the management of health and safety (OSH) and workplace risks with particular emphasis on employee involvement and psychosocial risks. The survey data can be found in the online panel.
Feasibility studies for the new edition were held in 2014, covering companies both from the public and the private sectors in the EU-28 plus Albania, Iceland, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland. For the first time enterprises in agriculture and fisheries and micro-enterprises with 5-10 employees were included. Respondents answered questions about the main risk factors in their businesses and reported about how and why they are managing them, as well as on identifying barriers to prevention. Full review of the report will be available in English in 2016
For information regarding the project on international level – press-office of EU-OSHA –
For information regarding the project on national level – MLSP (Ministry of Labour and Social Policy) – Darina Konova –

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