EU-OSHA Annual report 2007: bringing safety & health closer to European workers

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA, the Agency) was involved in many different areas of occupational safety and health (OSH) in 2007. The Agency’s role is to collect, analyse and disseminate information on safety and health at work, and to promote a culture of prevention of accidents and ill health. Of great importance was the new Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work, 2007-2012, which will shape EU-OSHA’s work over the coming years.

The Agency played a key role in the launch of the Strategy, which aims to cut work-related accidents by a quarter across the EU and to reduce occupational illnesses. Moreover, initial discussions with stakeholder groups were held on EU-OSHA’s own strategy for 2009-13. 2007 saw the publication of an external evaluation, which focuses especially on the way that EU-OSHA works with its network of focal points, usually the national health and safety authority in each Member State.

The evaluation was generally positive, and will help the Agency and focal points to cooperate more closely. EU-OSHA helped to establish national focal points in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia through CARDS, a co-operation programme between the European Union and the Western Balkans.

The 2007 European campaign focused on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), the most common form of work-related illness in Europe. ‘Lighten the Load’, which highlighted the rehabilitation and reintegration of workers with MSDs, as well as prevention of MSDs themselves, culminated in the European Week for Safety and Health at Work from 22 to 26  October 2007, with a broad range of activities and events organised across Europe.

To support the campaign, EU-OSHA produced a range of information materials, including reports on the reintegration of workers and MSD prevention. The campaign also featured Good Practice Awards, recognising organisations that have made innovative contributions in tackling MSDs. Much of the preparatory work on the forthcoming European campaign
on Risk Assessment for 2008/9 was carried out. Campaigns are moving to a two-year cycle, giving more time for implementation and follow-up activities. They will also make use of a new fi nancial support model.

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