This post is also available in: Spanish
One of the most expected predictions in one of my professional fields -risk prevention- for 2013 failed: last year the new European Strategy on Safety and Health at Work was not renewed. This drove to a deep criticism to relevant authorities, specially the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).
The approval of the OSH Strategy still 2020 is imminent, but it may depend on european elections in 2014. To make conditional these strategic decisions or the approval of specific regulations (as happened with the carcinogenic agents or muscle skeletal disorders) to the celebration of politic referendums is not good, neither for Europe or indeed for safety and health of workers. Europe can and must overcome these kind of circumstances.
With or without strategies or laws, during 2014 occupational safety and health will continue evolving. It will do by maintaining a smart, instinctive and open trend, according to the sign of the times. Actions to be performed are characterized by the global intelligence, covering the gap led by regulations more and more obsolete, slow and only justified as an end in itself.
In 2014, this just started smart trend will get stablished.
2014, OSH specialization
Should you keep in the OSH cutting edge -and many professions more- don´t be pleased with fulfilling just what royal decrees say. Regulations must be obeyed, but it is insufficient. A good index of professional sources to stay tuned is paramount. There is where you will know the trends, emerging risk factors and key aspects on occupational safety and health:
- Demographic change, which in Europe meets some challenging special features, starting with the European population ageing and its related risks (muscle skeletal disorders, chronic diseases);
- In a worldwide scale, globalization has important consequences in organizations. The impact of aspects such as cultural diversity need new solutions from corporations (Spanish);
- The evolution of new technologies and industries raise unknown risk till now, being “green jobs” from renewable energies (Spanish), the new communication systems and exposure to pollutant agents like nano materials (Spanish) the main exponent.
In a nutshell, the new challenges of OSH overshoot what the EU-OSHA Agency itself calls traditional safety -that including the classical specialities like safety at work, industrial hygiene and ergonomics- to reach high specialisation aspects as the mentioned ones.
Throughout campaigns, publications, research programs and many other initiatives, the great organizations are able to give answer to all these new aspects. Indeed, the next EU-OSHA´s campaign 2014-2015 will be dedicated to one of these issues: managing stress and psycosocial risks in organizations.
The European OSH Strategy should be one of these actions. It may have a key role by tracing new actions among the member states. That´s why it is so important.
During 2014, stay tuned to these actions. There is where you´ll find the answers.