74 Percent of Workers Believe Safety Issues Addressed with Supervisors Will Be Addressed

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched its new two-year Healthy Workplaces Campaign on working together for risk prevention.

EU workplaces are safer and healthier than ever, according to officials. But still every year there are 6.9 million workplace accidents and millions more work-related diseases. The human suffering of poor safety and health is immeasurable, but the economic cost is estimated at 490 billion euros (645 billion dollars)  a year – more than half the current cost of the EU's financial crisis bail-out fund. EU-OSHA's new campaign turns the spotlight on the importance of management leadership and worker participation in improving workplace safety and health. [WCx]
Launching the campaign in Brussels, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, alongside Dr. Christa Sedlatschek, director of EU-OSHA and Bo Smith, permanent secretary at the Danish Ministry of Employment, called for workers and employees to work together to lay the foundations for a more sustainable risk prevention culture in Europe.
Andor stated thatEurope has made a lot of progress in the area of occupational safety and health in the past decade and we have to continue our work in this area. This is one of the key policies to make active ageing a reality, which is the aim of the European Year in 2012. There is evidence that prioritizing health and safety is not just the right thing to do, it is also good for business. Benefits include reduced costs and increased productivity; a happier and more productive workforce; lower rates of worker absence and turnover; fewer accidents; improved standing among suppliers and partners; greater awareness and control of workplace risks; and a better reputation for sustainability among investors, customers and communities.”
“The most effective results are achieved if workers and managers join together,” added Sedlatschek. ‘Therefore the campaign is focusing on encouraging both bosses and top managers to show leadership in actively engaging in risk reduction and workers, their representatives and other stakeholders to work together with managers to reduce risks. There is still action to be taken and here our Healthy Workplaces Campaign plays a major role, offering simple and practical guidance to working together.’
Results from EU-OSHA's recent pan-European opinion poll on occupational safety and health (OSH) give cause for optimism for the campaign's success. The poll shows that on the whole, EU workers (74%) feel confident that an occupational health and safety problem raised with a supervisor would be addressed; and generally Europeans (67%) consider themselves well informed about occupational health and safety. But there are big differences between Member States and a key aim of the campaign is to share good practice to raise the levels of risk prevention in companies of all sizes and in all sectors wherever they might be situated in the EU.
Research confirms that whatever an organization’s size, leadership from the top and the active participation of workers are crucial to successful health and safety management. The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) shows that worker participation combined with management commitment leads to far better occupational safety and health performance. Enterprises with high worker participation combined with high management commitment, for example, are 10 times more likely to have a documented OSH policy in place. This has the additional benefit of these measures being perceived as more effective.
The campaign encompasses a range of activities at national and European level, including the 11th European Good Practice Awards. The Awards, to be announced in April 2013, highlight the best examples of managers and employees working together for risk prevention. Organized by EU-OSHA, in cooperation with the Member States and the incumbent Council Presidencies of the European Union, the Awards are now officially open for entries, via EU-OSHA’s network of national focal points: (http://osha.europa.eu/en/campaigns/competitions/good-practice-award_2012-2013/).[WCx]
The campaign will be led at the national level by EU-OSHA’s national focal points and official campaign partners. To download the official campaign guide and other campaign materials (presentations, publications and promotional material in 24 languages) and find campaign events happening across Europe, visit the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2012-13 website: www.healthy-workplaces.eu

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.




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