Members' Research Service By / November 18, 2015

Occupational health and safety at work: the EU strategies

Written by Veronika Kunz and Valerie Hoogewys Important steps to improve Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) have been taken by…

© laufer / fotolia
Written by Veronika Kunz and Valerie Hoogewys

Important steps to improve Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) have been taken by the European Union since the 1980s. Building on this, a Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work (OSH Strategy 2007-2012) was put in place. In 2013, an evaluation of this strategy was undertaken. After considering this evaluation , the European Commission adopted a new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2014-2020 on the 6 th of June 2014. The strategic framework is planned to be discussed in the European Parliament plenary in November.

Given “psychosocial risks and work-related stress are among the most challenging issues in occupational safety and health” this keysource includes a section dedicated to workplace stress.


Health and Safety at Work / Susanne Kraatz, European Parliament, Fact Sheets on the European Union, 04/2015
For an overview of legal basis, objectives and achievements in the area of Health and Safety at Work, read the EP Factsheet.

What is occupational safety and health? / European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA), OSH Wiki
“Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is an interdisciplinary activity concerned with the prevention of occupational risks inherent to each work activity.”

Health and well-being at work / EurWORK, Eurofound, 9 June 2014
This page offers reading material on various topics like risks, work-related health outcomes, risk factors for work-related stress and workplace health promotion as well as absenteeism or violence and harassment.

Assessment of the 2007-2012 strategy

Evaluation of the European strategy on Safety and Health at Work 2007-2012 / COWI, IOM, milieu, March 2013

A major issue: the prevention of stress

Work safety word cloud
© laufer / fotolia

The Role of Labour Inspectorates in Tackling the Psychosocial Risks at work in Europe: Problems and Perspectives / Dimitrios Toukas et al.; In: Safety and Health at Work, 2015
This paper points out the important role European labour inspectors can have in preventing emerging psychosocial risks.

Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention / Eurofound, EU-OSHA, 2014
‘Acknowledging the complexity of the relationship between health and work, the report presents comparative information on the prevalence of psychosocial risks among workers and examines the associations between these risks and health and well-being. It also looks at the extent to which establishments take action to tackle psychosocial risks and describes interventions that can be adopted in companies.’

Safety and Health at Work: A Vision for Sustainable Prevention / International Labour Organization, XX World Congress on Safety and Health at work, 2014
This paper gives an overview of the global trends in occupational safety and health. The actions of the ILO on sustainable prevention are described.

European Approaches to Work-Related Stress: A Critical Review on Risk Evaluation / Silvia Zoni, Roberto G. Lucchini; In: Safety and Health at Work, Vol. 3, iss. 1, March 2012, pp. 43-49
This article provides a critical opinion on four European models that have been developed for the assessment and management of work-related stress.

Legislation and standards

EU legislation

Summaries of EU Legislation / – Employment and social policy
This link offers an overview of EU legislation which is related to employment and social policy. You can find more specific information on occupational safety and health at work such as legislation about ionising radiation, occupational diseases and explosive atmospheres. If you would like a more summarised view of the general legislation relating to OSH then click here .

Safety and health legislation / European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA)
The OSHA provides an overview of the safety and health legislation. Here you’ll find the EU directives, the EU guidelines and the EU standards.

International legislation

International Labour Standards on Occupational Safety and Health / ILO
Here you can find the standards on OSH at international level.

Seoul Declaration on Safety and Health at Work (2008) / Seoul Declaration Secretariat
This declaration supported by “governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, multinational companies, social security institutions, occupational safety and health bodies and NGOs” recognises that safety and health at work is a fundamental human right.

National legislation

Health and Safety at Work: European and Comparative Perspective /Ed. Eduardo Ales, Kluwer Law International, 2013
This book offers an overview of legislation in the different EU countries, it is available in the EP Library in Brussels under S 44.28 EUR HEA 13.


Accidents at work statistics / Eurostat, Statistics explained
This page provides a wide range of statistical data concerning accidents at work. Section ‘5.4.2 Publications’ links you to some other data such as an overview of work related health problems and exposure to risk factors.

Working Conditions / European Commission, Flash Eurobarometer 398, April 2014
The Flash Eurobarometer carried out a survey on ‘Working conditions’ in the 28 Member States of the EU. It asked employees how satisfied they were regarding health and safety at work, which health problems or sicknesses they relate to their work and the risks they perceive in the workplace. For an abbreviated version, click on this summary .

European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) / EU OSHA
The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks 2 (ESENER-2) focuses on increasingly important areas of OSH risks in European workplaces. In-depth analyses will be published in 2017. A first findings report and a summary report of the survey are already available.

Fifth European Working Conditions Survey / Eurofound 2012
This survey, covers working conditions in the EU27. Chapters 2 and 3 are most relevant for the topic ‘Occupational Safety and Health’. These chapters describe which factors could be a hazard to the health and safety of an employee.

Global Estimates of the Burden of Injury and Illness at Work in 2012 / Jukka Takala et al., In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 11(5), 2014, pp. 326-337
In this report, you’ll find the estimated global direct and indirect economic costs of occupational accidents and diseases. In some cases you can find the economic cost per country.

EU programmes and projects

European Week for Safety and Health at Work
Every October, week 43 is dedicated to health and safety at work.

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