Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). Join the European Week for healthy workplaces for all ages1
The 2016 European Week for Safety and Health at Work – 24 to 28 October – a key part of the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages Campaign, starts today. Through the hundreds of events taking place across Europe this week, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its network of partners stress the importance of ensuring safe and healthy conditions throughout working life.
Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA said: “27 % of European workers don’t think they will be able to do the same job at 60″2. That’s why prevention of occupational accidents and ill health are a cornerstone of our campaign. Employers must take into account workforce diversity and pay special attention to vulnerable workers: young workers, older workers, people with disabilities, women.”
By 2030, workers aged over 55 are expected to make up 30 % or more of the total workforce in many EU countries. This creates challenges for employees, employers and businesses. In light of an ageing population and declining demographics, it is vital to create safe and healthy conditions for all workers throughout working life. Doing so ensures the European workforce is sustainable and dynamic. EU-OSHA and its partners are taking the lead in promoting sustainable working lives and helping employers gather the benefits that older workers can bring to organisations.
EU-OSHA assists campaign partners with their efforts by providing numerous free resources on the campaign website: for instance, the interactive and user-friendly e-guide which provides easy-to-follow information and practical guidance on managing the safety and health of an ageing workforce has recently been released in over 30 country-specific versions. Information is tailored to each country and users can customise information according to their needs as employers, workers, HR managers or OSH professionals.
Several info sheets summarising the main reports from the project “Safer and healthier work at any age – occupational safety and health (OSH) in the context of an ageing workforce” have also just been released. They cover topics such as the benefits older workers can bring to organisations, the added risks women encounter in the workplace, systems for rehabilitation and return to work in place across Europe, and an overview of policies and strategies aimed at sustaining Europe’s ageing workforce. These info sheets underline, for example, that factors linked to lifestyle or specific occupations can play an even more important role in overall health and workplace risk than chronological age does.
The Healthy Workplaces Campaign network − including leading health and safety organisations, businesses, employer organisations, trade unions, as well as OSH specialists − are coming up with a variety of ways to discuss the campaign messages throughout the year and more specifically during this European Week. For instance, EU-OSHA focal points are hosting numerous events in more than 13 countries, such as a conference in Austria (24 October) showcasing the potentials of generational diversity at work or an event in the Czech Republic (25 October) which covers the latest OSH legislation news. EU-OSHA Director, Dr Christa Sedlatschek, will present findings on major EU-OSHA activities at a conference in Slovakia which also covers new technologies and forms of employment. And in Spain a full programme of more than 60 events across 39 cities in several regions is taking place, including some creative initiatives, such as the one in the Canary Islands with the collection of short videos of multigenerational workers performing good safety and health practices under the title “15 seconds of healthy workplaces in each age”.
Official Campaign Partners are also actively supporting the European Week through several activities and initiatives: The Safety in Action Conference, hosted by DEKRA Insight brings together safety leaders and teams from world-class companies on 26-27 October in Antwerp, Belgium. Meanwhile, the Federation of the European Ergonomics Societies (FEES) has dedicated the entire month of October to the subject ‘Ergonomics for all ages’ to demonstrate the potential of ergonomics to promote a sustainable working life.
Promotor BHP, a campaign media partner from Poland, is hosting the ‘Human Factor in Safety’ conference during this week to share the tools and experiences for creating safe working conditions in the mining, fuel and energy and metallurgical industries.
An EU target for employment has been set — 75 % of the EU population aged 20-64 should be in employment by 2020. Age-sensitive OSH practices and ensuring well-being at work throughout working life are two critical pieces of achieving this target. All the European Week activities and events taking place allow for the campaign’s network of partners and other workers and employers alike to exchange best practices and generate ideas to work towards this goal together.
- See the European Week events.
- Use the multilingual e-guide to find out how to manage safety and health for an ageing workforce.
- Find out more about the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign at the campaign website.