Tag Archives: Safety

Action plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation

Action plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Threats to health

Action plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 8 December 2008 – Action plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation (2009-2015): Strengthened Cooperation between Member States [COM(2008) 819 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Commission is presenting an Action Plan with the aim of strengthening cooperation between Member States in terms of organ donation and transplantation. This plan is also accompanied by a Proposal for a Directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation.

This Action Plan lays down ten priority actions grouped under three challenges:

  • increasing organ availability;
  • enhancing the efficiency and accessibility of transplantation systems;
  • improving quality and safety.

Priority Actions for increasing organ availability

It is essential to increase the number of organ donors. To this end, the Plan advocates the appointing of transplant donor coordinators in all hospitals practising organ donation.

Hospitals must also promote Quality Improvement Programmes for organ donation, through a specific methodology. Existing methods are to be compared and those giving most results will be promoted.

Exchange of good practice is also strongly encouraged in the field of organ donation from living donors (concerning deceased donors, it is recommended that the potential of donations be maximised). In this regard, altruistic donation programmes should be set up, whilst storing personal data on donors in line with Directive 95/46/EC.

Good communication within families can have positive consequences on willingness to donate organs by family members. This is why health professionals and patient support groups are to strengthen communication and organise training in this field with families in order to increase organ donation potential.

Mobility of patients and donors should also be prioritised as part of cooperation between Member States. It should be possible to identify all donors in the Union. Tools are to be made available by the Commission to this end.

Priority Actions for enhancing the efficiency and accessibility of transplantation systems

Each Member State should prepare a national programme of priority actions to enhance the efficiency of transplantation systems. In particular, a series of common indicators shall be established to monitor organ donation policy.

The Action Plan strongly supports the drawing up of Community agreements on various aspects of transplant medicine. Cooperation is the best framework to generate joint solutions and monitoring mechanisms.

The Action Plan also invites Member States to establish Community agreements on the monitoring of the extent of organ trafficking in Europe. This trafficking is indeed a scourge in that it is one of the causes of the lack of available organs.

Member States are also invited to introduce a system or structure for the exchange of organs in particular for urgent cases and difficult to treat patients (such as children or patients requiring specific treatment).

Priority actions for improving quality and safety

Information concerning organ donations and transplantation should be compiled in registers to facilitate the evaluation of post-transplantation results. This information will be used in particular to develop good medical practices and to prepare a method to compare performance for the monitoring of organ recipients.

An accreditation system for organ donation, procurement and transplantation programmes should be established as part of a common methodology.

Context

As the Communication Organ donation and transplantation: Policy actions at European Union level had already pointed out, demand for organs outweighs supply all over the European territory. There are currently more than 56 000 patients waiting for an organ from a suitable donor. These shortages generate organ trafficking which is a violation of human dignity and fundamental rights. It is for this reason that Member States should strengthen cooperation in order to preserve organ quality and safety.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 December 2008 on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation [ – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Proposal for a Directive on quality and safety standards for human organs intended for transplantation establishes a legal framework in this field.

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Standards of quality and safety of organs intended for transplantation

Standards of quality and safety of organs intended for transplantation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Standards of quality and safety of organs intended for transplantation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Threats to health

Standards of quality and safety of organs intended for transplantation

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2010/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation.

Summary

This Directive sets out a common framework on quality and safety standards for organs * of human origin intended for transplantation into the human body. It also aims to protect donors * and optimise exchanges between Member States and third countries.

Scope

This Directive covers only those organs to be transplanted into the human body, and not the use of organs for the purposes of research.

It applies to:

  • donation *;
  • procurement *;
  • testing;
  • characterisation *;
  • transport;
  • transplantation of organs.

It does not apply to:

  • blood;
  • blood components;
  • human tissues and cells;
  • organs, tissues and cells of animal origin.

Quality and safety of organs

Member States shall implement a quality and safety framework which defines the parameters of all stages of the chain from donation to transplantation *.

These quality and safety frameworks are to fix all of the parameters of the process continuously, from donation to transplantation. They have the following functions in particular:

  • to define traceability * procedures from donation to transplantation or disposal of the organ;
  • to implement standard operating procedures *;
  • to establish the qualifications of personnel.

The procurement of an organ (that has previously been subject to a characterisation) is to be performed in dedicated facilities and under the supervision of a medical doctor as defined in Directive 2005/36/EC.

All procured organs must be characterised before transplantation. The minimum information required includes:

  • le type of donor;
  • the blood group;
  • the cause and date of death of the donor;
  • the clinical history of the donor, including aspects such as neoplasia, hepatisis, HIV or IV drug abuse.

Other complimentary information may be requested, such as the medical history of the donor or, for example, physical and clinical data.

The transport of organs shall be carried out according to clearly defined criteria. The shipping containers used by organisations or companies must contain information such as contact details for the procurement and transplantation organisations, be marked ‘handle with care’ and contain safety instructions and method of cooling.

All organs procured, allocated and transplanted on the territory must be traceable from the donor to the recipient and vice versa in order to safeguard the health of donors and recipients.

If a serious adverse event should occur following organ transplantation, a reporting system, put in place by Member States, should allow relevant information to be reported and transmitted.

Donor and recipient protection

Organ donation must be voluntary and unpaid. However, compensation may be granted to make good the expenses and loss of income related to the donation, while avoiding any financial incentive.

Member States shall be prohibited from advertising the need for, or availability of, organs.

Living donors are to be provided with comprehensive information as to the purpose and nature of the donation, and the consequences and risks involved.

Qualified medical personnel are to select donors on the basis of their health and medical history including a psychological evaluation. These provisions guarantee the quality and safety of organs.

The personal data of the donor shall be protected in line with Directive 95/46/EC. Anonymity is guaranteed.

Competent authorities

Member States shall designate the competent authorities to implement the Directive. They will, in particular, supervise the implementation of the quality and safety framework and exchanges with Member States or third countries;

Context

Over the last 20 years, the use of human organs for transplantation has increased considerably. This technique makes it possible to compensate for the failure of organs such as the liver, lungs or heart. However, this medical practice is associated with risks which this Directive aims to reduce by introducing strict standards concerning the quality and safety of organs.

Key terms used in the act
  • Organ: a differentiated and vital part of the human body, formed by different tissues, that maintains its structure, vascularisation, and capacity to develop physiological functions with an important level of autonomy;
  • Donor: every human source of organs, whether living or deceased;
  • Donation: donating human organs for transplantation;
  • Transplantation: the process of restoring certain functions of the human body by transferring equivalent organs to a recipient;
  • Traceability: the ability for a competent authority to locate and identify the organ at each stage in the chain from donation to transplantation or disposal, this authority, under specified circumstances set out in this Directive being authorised to: identify the donor and the procurement organisation, identify the recipient(s) at the transplantation centre(s), locate and identify all relevant non-personal information relating to products and materials coming into contact with that organ;
  • Standard operating procedures: written instructions describing the steps in a specific process, including the materials and methods to be used and the expected end product;
  • Procurement: a process by which the donated organs become available;
  • Donor characterisation: the collection of the relevant information on the characteristics of the donor needed to undertake a proper risk assessment in order to minimise the risks for the recipient and to optimise organ allocation.

Reference

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2010/53/EU

26.8.2010

27.8.2012

OJ L 207 of 6.8.2010

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 8 December 2008 – Action plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation (2009-2015): Strengthened Cooperation between Member States” [COM (2008) 819 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation (2009-2015) sets out 10 priority actions in this area.

Informing passengers of the carrier's identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on the establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community and on informing air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier, and repealing Article 9 of Directive 2004/36/EC [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This new Regulation is designed to give passengers the right to be informed of the identity of the carrier operating the flight they have booked, while at the same time reinforcing the obligation on European Union (EU) countries to pass on safety-related information. Companies considered to be unsafe will find their aircraft banned from flying and will have their names published on a universally accessible blacklist. This list will be published both on the Internet and in the Official Journal.

These provisions apply to flights:

  • departing from an airport in the territory of an EU country to which the Treaty applies;
  • departing from an airport in a third country and arriving at an airport in the territory of an EU country, provided that the contracting carrier is based in the EU;
  • departing from an airport in a third country, where the flight is part of a contract of carriage entered into in the EU, and provided that the journey started in the EU.

A blacklist of unsafe airlines

The Annex sets out common criteria for considering an EU-wide operating ban for safety reasons. Air carriers will be included on the blacklist on the basis of the following criteria:

  • evidence of serious safety deficiencies on the part of a carrier;
  • a lack of ability (or willingness) on the part of a carrier to address safety deficiencies (lack of transparency or insufficient action);
  • a lack of ability (or willingness) on the part of the authorities responsible for overseeing a carrier to address safety deficiencies (lack of cooperation, insufficient ability, etc.).

EU countries publish a list of all air carriers banned from their airspace or subject to traffic rights restrictions for safety reasons. This list is made available to other EU countries and to the Commission. The Commission publishes a consolidated list of these air carriers. Furthermore, at least once every three months, the Commission must assess whether the blacklist needs to be updated to include or exclude certain carriers. To update the list, both the EU country concerned and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) must notify the Commission of all the relevant information.

Passengers’ rights to information and reimbursement

To enable airline passengers to be better informed about the operating carrier when choosing a flight, passengers must be able to know which carrier will be operating the flight when they make the booking. The contracting carrier is required to inform passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier or carriers when making a reservation, whatever the means used to make the booking. The passenger must also be kept informed of any change of operating carrier, either at check-in or, at the latest, when boarding.

The Regulation also gives passengers the right to reimbursement or re-routing if a carrier with which a booking has been made is subsequently added to the blacklist, resulting in cancellation of the flight concerned.

Background

Safety oversight is regulated worldwide within the framework of the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and is based on standards developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Under the Convention, air carriers, and in particular their compliance with safety requirements, must be supervised by their home country.

At European level, safety procedures are based on EU legislation and specifically on the European Aviation Safety Agency.

However, outside the EU, safety levels depend on the effectiveness of oversight procedures applicable in third countries. In this context, Directive 2004/36/EC ensures a high level of aviation safety for aircraft flying into, out of or within the EU by providing for a harmonised inspection system for third-country aircraft using European airports.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005

16.1.2006

OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

9.9.2010

OJ L 237 of 8.9.2010

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Blacklist of high-risk companies.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 474/2006 of 22 March 2006 establishing the Community list of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban within the Community referred to in Chapter II of Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 84 of 23.3.2006].

Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2000/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 18 September 2000 on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents at work (seventh individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Summary

This Directive protects the health and safety of workers exposed to biological agents * whilst undertaking their work.

Biological agents are classified into four risk groups, according to the risk of infection involved:

  • group 1 includes agents that are unlikely to cause human disease;
  • group 2 concerns agents that can cause human disease but are unlikely to spread to the community, for which effective treatment is available;
  • group 3 includes agents that can cause human disease and may spread to the community, although prevention or treatment is possible;
  • group 4 concerns agents that can cause severe human disease. They present a high risk of spreading to the community, for which there is no effective treatment.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment must be carried out for all professional activities that may expose workers to biological agents. The nature, degree and duration of exposure shall be determined in order to plan preventive measures.

The employer shall participate in regular risk assessments.

Employers’ obligations

If the activity so permits, the employer must replace the harmful agents with agents that are not dangerous or are less dangerous, considering their conditions of use and the level of scientific knowledge thereof.

Moreover, if there is a risk to the safety or health of workers, the employer shall ensure that such risk is reduced to a sufficiently low level. The employer may:

  • limit the number of workers exposed to a minimum;
  • control the release of agents into the workplace, using technical procedures;
  • organise collective and/or individual protection measures;
  • prevent or reduce accidental release outside the workplace, using hygiene measures;
  • install risk warning signs;
  • draw up plans to deal with accidents;
  • provide for the collection, storage and disposal of waste;
  • arrange for safe handling conditions and transport of biological agents.

The employer is obliged to keep a list of workers exposed to group 3 and/or group 4 agents. This list may be kept for up to 40 years in some cases. Furthermore, the employer shall inform the competent national authority when group 2, group 3 or group 4 biological agents are used for the first time.

Lastly, the employer shall ensure that workers and/or their representatives are sufficiently informed and trained, concerning:

  • potential risks to health;
  • precautions to be taken to prevent exposure;
  • hygiene rules;
  • use of protective equipment and clothing;
  • measures to be taken in the case of incidents.

If there is an accident or incident, the employer shall inform workers and/or their representatives as soon as possible of the causes, risks and measures to be taken.

Health surveillance

The Member States shall establish arrangements to carry out the health surveillance of workers, prior to and following exposure to biological agents.

Context

Directive 90/679/EEC on the risks related to exposure of workers to biological agents is repealed.

Key terms
  • Biological agents: micro-organisms, including those which have been genetically modified, cell cultures and human endoparasites, which may be able to provoke any infection, allergy or toxicity.
  • Micro-organism: a microbiological entity, cellular or non-cellular, capable of replication or of transferring genetic material.
  • Cell culture: the in-vitro growth of cells derived from multicellular organisms.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2000/54/EC

18.9.2000

6.11.2000

OJ L 262 of 17.10.2000

Health, hygiene and safety at work

Health, hygiene and safety at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Health, hygiene and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Health, hygiene and safety at work

Although one of the goals of the European Union is to create employment through the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, it also tries to ensure that these new jobs are of a higher quality. Health and safety at work is now one of the most important and most advanced areas of EU social policy. Community action in this area is not limited to legislation. The European Institutions carry out several activities providing information and guidance and promoting a safe and healthy working environment in cooperation with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

  • Health and safety at work – general rules
  • Community strategy on health and safety at work (2007-2012)
  • Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013)
  • European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF)
  • Communication on the practical implementation of directives on health and safety at work
  • European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
  • European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND)
  • Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSHW)
  • Statistics on public health and health and safety at work
  • European schedule of occupational diseases
  • Organisation of working time: basic Directive
  • Community strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006)

EQUIPMENT, SIGNS AND LOADS

  • Use of work equipment
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Work with display screen equipment
  • Provision of health and safety signs at work
  • Manual handling of loads involving risk

PROTECTION OF SPECIFIC GROUPS OF WORKERS

  • Self-employed workers: health and safety at work
  • Health and safety for temporary workers
  • Protection of young people at work
  • Protection of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding

THE WORKPLACE

  • Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace
  • Temporary and mobile work sites
  • Extractive industries by means of boreholes
  • Extractive industries in the surface and underground
  • Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
  • Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU
  • Strengthening of maritime labour standards
  • Fishing vessels
  • Improved medical treatment on board vessels

CHEMICAL, PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL AGENTS

  • Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents
  • Protection of workers exposed to asbestos
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields
  • Exposure to noise
  • Exposure to mechanical vibration
  • Risk of explosive atmospheres
  • Exposure to chemical agents
  • Dangers arising from ionising radiation
  • Exposure to artificial optical radiation
  • Exposure to carcinogens and mutagens
  • European system for registration of carriers of radioactive materials (Proposal)
  • Exposure to biological agents
  • Exposure to asbestos

Community strategy on health and safety at work

Community strategy on health and safety at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community strategy on health and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Community strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006)

The aim of this strategy is to facilitate the application of existing health and safety at work legislation and to come up with new ideas for the period in question. It is based on an inventory of the current situation, on the basis of which the Commission reiterates the three prerequisites for a safe and healthy workplace: consolidating risk prevention culture, better application of existing law and a global approach to well-being at work. To meet these conditions, the Community strategy proposes three main approaches: adapting the legal framework, support for innovative approaches (formulation of best practices, social dialogue, corporate social responsibility) and finally the mainstreaming of health and safety at work in other Community policies.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 11 March 2002 on a Community strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006) [COM(2002) 118 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

1. The Lisbon European Council highlighted the fact that Europe is currently experiencing the transition to a knowledge economy characterised by profound changes in the composition of the active population, forms of employment and risks at the workplace. Identifying the various trends helps to better define the problems for which the health and safety at work strategy will have to provide solutions.

ADAPTING TO CHANGES IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Trends in the active population: feminisation and ageing

2. Trends in the active population call for a global approach to the quality of employment, taking into account the specific situation of different age brackets and the gender dimension.

3. For example, the steady rise in the numbers of women whose work calls for specific measures in some areas: women are not susceptible to the same types of occupational diseases as men and have different types of industrial accidents. The differences between the sexes must be better taken into account in the legislation. To this end, action must be taken with regard to the ergonomics of workstations, and physiological and psychological differences must be taken on board in the organisation of work.

4. By the same token, older workers (50 years plus) tend to have more serious industrial accidents leading to higher mortality, as they tend to be over-represented in the more dangerous manual occupations.

Diversification of forms of employment

5. The increase in temporary contracts and unconventional hours (shift or night work) are factors that increase the dangers to which workers are exposed. These workers are often poorly trained, sometimes demotivated because of the unstable nature of their contract and suffering from psychosomatic problems caused by their working hours. New forms of employment, such as teleworking, lead to the appearance of new problems of which more account must be taken.

The changing nature of the risks

6. Changes in work organisation (target-driven approaches and greater flexibility) have a profound effect on health at work and on the well-being of workers in general. Problems such as stress, depression, violence, harassment and intimidation at work are rising fast and, by 1999, already accounted for 18% of all work-related health problems. Strategies to prevent these new social risks should also incorporate the incidence of addictions, in particular alcoholism and drug addiction, on accident frequency.

THREE PREREQUISITES FOR A HIGH QUALITY WORKING ENVIRONMENT

A global approach to well-being at work

7. The Community’s health and safety at work policy should promote real well-being at work, be it physical, emotional or social, which is more than merely the absence of occupational accidents or diseases. To this end, the following additional measures must be taken:

  • continuing reduction in industrial accidents and occupational diseases (quantifiable objectives should be set at Community and national level);
  • prevention of social and emotional problems (stress, harassment at work, depression, anxiety and addiction);
  • better prevention of occupational diseases, in particular the diseases linked to asbestos, hearing loss and musculoskeletal complaints;
  • more consideration of demographic trends in occupational risks, accidents and diseases (older workers and protection of young people at work);
  • gender mainstreaming in risk assessment, prevention measures and compensation arrangements;
  • more consideration of changes in the forms of work and work organisation (temporary and unconventional work);
  • taking on board the specific problems of SMEs, micro-enterprises and self-employed workers.

A real culture of prevention

8. Improving knowledge of risks involves:

  • education and training (raising awareness in schools’ programmes, teaching in vocational programmes and in the context of continuing vocational training);
  • raising employers’ awareness of the issues involved in creating a well managed working environment;
  • anticipating new and emerging risks, whether linked to technological innovations or social trends (creation of a risk observatory within the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work).

This Agency should play a key role in these awareness-raising and anticipation activities.

Better application of existing law

9. The proper application of Community law is a prerequisite for improving the quality of the working environment. The Commission, in conjunction with the social partners, will accordingly be drafting guides to applying the relevant directives which will take into account the diversity of companies and sectors of activity. Moreover, the Commission will be developing activities to encourage, through close collaboration between the national authorities, the correct and equivalent implementation of the directives. In this context, the development of joint inspection objectives and joint methods of assessment for the national inspection systems must be promoted, and the inspections carried out by the inspectorates in the Member States must lead to uniform penalties which are dissuasive, proportionate and effectively applied.

A GLOBAL APPROACH COMBINING LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AND PARTNERSHIPS

10. Promoting a high-quality work environment, taking on board the three dimensions above, calls for a global approach based on all the available mechanisms.

Adapting the legal and institutional framework:

  • adapting existing directives to scientific developments and technological progress;
  • analysing the national reports on the application of the directives in order to identify the difficulties faced by the various actors in the implementation of the legislation;
  • new provisions, including extending the scope of the Directive on carcinogens, creating a new legislative framework on the ergonomics of workstations, a communication on musculoskeletal disorders and new legislation on emerging risks (inter alia, bullying and violence at work);
  • streamlining the legal framework: codifying the existing directives and drafting a single implementation report to replace the specific reports provided for in the various directives;
  • merger of the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work and the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and Other Extractive Industries.

Support for innovative approaches:

  • Benchmarking and the identification of best practices should:

    – promote convergence in the Member States, with the setting of national objectives to cut accidents, occupational diseases and lost days as a result of accidents or illnesses;
    – lead to a better definition of emerging phenomena such as stress-related complaints and illnesses and musculoskeletal disorders;
    – develop knowledge of and monitor the economic and social costs of accidents and occupational diseases.

  • Voluntary agreements concluded by the social partners

    Social dialogue and action by the inter-professional and sectoral social partners are good ways of tackling the specific risks and problems of particular occupations and sectors. They often lead to the drafting of good practices, codes of conduct or even framework agreements.

  • The social responsibility of businesses and competitiveness

    Many companies consider creating a safe and healthy working environment to be an important criterion in their choice of subcontractors and the marketing of their products. Health and safety at work is being included ever more often in voluntary certification and labelling initiatives. A healthy working environment is part of a global approach to managing quality which leads to better performance and competitiveness. The relationship between health and safety at work and competitiveness is more complicated than just the cost of complying with certain standards. In fact, the absence of a policy can lead to a loss of productivity which is far worse in terms of cost.

  • Economic incentives

    The fixing of insurance premiums for companies on the basis of their accident frequency represents a real financial incentive. This practice should be applied more systematically.

Mainstreaming of health and safety at work in other Community policies

11. Well-being at work cannot be achieved exclusively through health and safety policy. It is closely linked to other Community policies, such as the European Employment Strategy, public health policy, the placing on the market of work equipment and chemical products and other protection policies based on prevention (e.g. in transport, fishing, the environment).

THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION TO HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

Preparation for enlargement

12. The following measures should be applied in order to ensure the application of the acquis:

  • stepping up the technical assistance programmes and exchanges of experiences based on partnership and twinning formulas;
  • stepping up social dialogue;
  • promoting the collection and analysis of data on occupational accidents and diseases.

Development of international cooperation

13. Linking the activities of the Commission with those of other international organisations (e.g. the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation) is vital, especially in fields such as combating child labour and the impact of alcohol and drug addiction on health and safety at work.
As part of the Council’s work, this coordination has led to the adoption, in the context of International Labour Conferences, of an agreement and a recommendation on the safety and health of workers in mining and in agriculture, a protocol and a recommendation on the recording and declaration of industrial accidents and occupational diseases, including the revision of the schedule of occupational diseases, and the adoption of a resolution on safety and health at work.

Cooperation with third countries, particularly those around the Mediterranean, the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) is essential to ensure that minimum standards are respected.
Finally, the cooperation and exchanges of experiences in the field of health and safety at work developed as part of the transatlantic pact with the United States should be stepped up.

CONTEXT

14. This Strategy succeeds the 1995 Commission Communication on a Community Programme concerning safety, hygiene and heath at work (1996-2000).
At that time, the focus was on the following points:

  • the establishment and operation of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao;
  • the correct transposition of the various directives and their practical application (assessment reports, monitoring of the labour inspectorate);
  • creating a safety culture in the business sector;
  • developing the link with employability (the quality of employees’ work depends largely on their working conditions).

Key terms used in the act

  • In 1998, 5500 workers died as a result of an occupational accident, and 4.8 million accidents led to more than three days’ absence from work. Compared to the situation in 1994, the frequency of occupational accidents has dropped by almost 10%.
  • Fishing, agriculture, building, health care and social services had rates more than 30% above the average.
  • The extractive industries, manufacturing, transport and hospitality had rates more than 15% above the average


Another Normative about Community strategy on health and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Community strategy on health and safety at work (2007-2012)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 21 February 2007, entitled ‘Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work’ [COM(2007) 62 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Good health at work helps improve public health in general and also the productivity and competitiveness of businesses. Furthermore, workplace problems of health and safety exact a high cost for social protection systems and therefore workers need to be provided with suitable working conditions if their general wellbeing is to be enhanced.

The Community’s current strategy on workplace health and safety is a continuation of its strategy for 2002-2006. The previous strategy has already borne fruit: workplace accidents have been markedly fewer in number. The new 2007-2012 strategy, which is even more ambitious, is focusing on achieving a 25 % reduction in the total incidence rate of accidents at work and, in order to achieve its goal, the Commission has established six intermediate objectives, which are summarised below.

Putting in place a modern and effective legislative framework

There are sometimes serious shortcomings in the application of Community legislation on workplace health and safety. The Commission will ensure that Community directives are transposed properly (if necessary, infringement proceedings will be launched). The Commission also draws the attention of the Member States to their obligation to implement Community legislation, for which they have several methods at their disposal, e.g. training, dissemination of information, involvement of labour inspectors or use of economic incentives.

Community legislation should not only be more effectively implemented but also be applied in a uniform manner in all the Member States in order to guarantee equivalent levels of protection to all European workers. At Community level, the Senior Labour Inspectors’ Committee (SLIC) will be working to develop mechanisms whereby common solutions can be found to problems specific to several Member States. The Committee will also be responsible for promoting cooperation between labour inspectorates.

In terms of worker protection, it is also essential to adapt the legal framework to changes in the world of work and to the latest technical advances. The Commission proposes to examine, for example, the possibility of launching initiatives to assess the musculo-skeletal risks involved in certain occupations and to investigate areas where carcinogens might be in use.

When all is said and done, any adaptation of the legal framework must also make that framework less complex and more effective. The Commission emphasises that simplified legislation should not lead to a reduction in existing levels of protection.

Encouraging the development and implementation of national strategies

The Commission invites the Member States to define and to adopt national strategies that are coherent with Community strategy and to establish quantitative objectives to be achieved within that context. The Commission proposes that the Member States pay particular attention to four areas:

  • prevention and health surveillance;
  • rehabilitation and reintegration of workers;
  • responses to social and demographic change (the ageing of the population, younger workers);
  • coordination between, on the one hand, policies on health and safety at work and, on the other, policies on public health, regional development and social cohesion, public procurement, employment and restructuring.

Promoting changes in behaviour

Changes in behaviour should be encouraged at all levels from primary school through to the world of work. The Commission calls upon the Member States to make wider use of the potential offered by the European Social Fund and other Community funds with a view to incorporating health and safety into education and training programmes. The raising of awareness within companies can be promoted through direct or indirect financial incentives, such as reductions in social contributions or insurance premiums, or increases in economic aid.

Confronting new and increasing risks

It is essential to step up scientific research in order to be able to anticipate, identify and respond to new workplace health and safety risks. At Community level, research in the areas of workplace health and safety is supported by the 7th framework programme for research and technological development. At national level, the Commission encourages Member States to coordinate their research programmes.

Depression is, at the present time, an increasingly important cause of incapacity for work. Mental health should be promoted in the workplace, e.g. by stepping up initiatives aimed at preventing violence and harassment in the workplace or combating stress.

Improving measurement of progress made

The Commission will ensure that statistics and information on national strategies are collected and that qualitative indicators are developed to enhance knowledge of progress achieved in the areas of health and safety at work.

Promoting health and safety at international level

The European Union is seeking to raise labour standards worldwide and will endeavour to increase its cooperation with third countries and with international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) or the World Health Organisation (WHO). For example, it aims to promote implementation of the global strategy on occupational safety and health , adopted by the ILO in 2003, ratification of the promotional framework for occupational safety and health convention , adopted in 2006, and the banning of asbestos.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament of 8 November 2007 transmitting the European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work [COM(2007) 686 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication relates to the European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work. It is the third autonomous agreement of its type, negotiated by the European cross-industry social partners. Its objective is to prevent and, where necessary, manage problems of bullying, harassment and physical violence in the workplace. Such situations are roundly condemned by the social partners, which call upon European companies to adopt a policy of zero tolerance.
The European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work was signed on 26 April 2007 by the ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP.

Self-employed workers: health and safety at work

Self-employed workers: health and safety at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Self-employed workers: health and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Self-employed workers: health and safety at work

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation 2003/134/EC of 18 February 2003 concerning the improvement of the protection of the health and safety at work of self-employed workers.

Summary

This recommendation concerns workers who exercise their occupational activity in a manner which does not involve an employment relationship with an employer or, more generally, does not make them subordinate to a third person.

Although self-employed workers are not covered by the Directives on health and safety at work, notably Directive 89/391/EEC, they are very often subject to health and safety risks similar to those experienced by employees.
Moreover, there are a large number of self-employed workers in certain “high-risk” sectors such as agriculture, fishing, construction, and transport.

For this reason the Council recommends that Member States promote prevention policies as well as health and safety at work measures, notably via awareness-raising campaigns, as well as access to training and health surveillance.
More specifically, Member States are recommended:

  • to promote, in the context of their policies on preventing occupational accidents and diseases, the safety and health of self-employed workers, while taking account of the special risks existing in specific sectors and the specific nature of the relationship between contracting undertakings and self-employed workers;
  • when promoting health and safety for self-employed workers, to choose the measures they consider most appropriate, such as one or more of the following: legislation, incentives, information campaigns and encouragement of relevant stakeholders;
  • to implement awareness-raising campaigns, so that self-employed workers can obtain from the competent services and/or bodies, as well as from their own representative organisations, useful information and advice on the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases;
  • to take the measures necessary so that self-employed workers can have access to sufficient training to acquire appropriate safety and health skills;
  • to facilitate easy access to this information and training without involving excessive expense for self-employed workers;
  • to allow self-employed workers who so wish to have access to health surveillance appropriate to the risks to which they are exposed;
  • to take account of available information on experience in other Member States;
  • to examine, between now and 2007, the effectiveness of existing national measures or measures taken subsequent to the adoption of this recommendation and to duly inform the Commission.

This recommendation does not affect existing or future national provisions providing for a higher degree of protection and Member States should choose the means they consider to be most appropriate to meet its objectives.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Recommendation 2003/134/EC 18.02.03 OJ L 53 of 28.02.2003

 

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Institutional affairs > The institutions bodies and agencies of the union

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 2062/94 of 18 July 1994 establishing a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work [See amending acts].

Summary

The Agency’s role is to:

  • collect and analyse technical, scientific and economic information on health and safety at work in the Member States and to pass it on to the Community bodies, other Member States and interested parties;
  • collect and analyse technical, scientific and economic information on research into safety and health at work and disseminate the results of this research;
  • promote and support cooperation and exchange of information and experience amongst the Member States in the field of safety and health at work, including information on training programmes;
  • organise conferences and seminars (such as the European Health and Safety at Work Week) and exchanges of national experts in the field of safety and health at work;
  • supply the Community bodies and the Member States with the technical, scientific and economic information they require to formulate and implement judicious and effective policies designed to protect the safety and health of workers;
  • establish an information network in cooperation with the Member States, and coordinate it, including national, Community (the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) and international bodies and organisations which provide this type of information and services;
  • collect and make available information on safety and health matters from and to third countries and international organisations: the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the International Migration Office (IMO), etc.;
  • provide technical, scientific and economic information on methods and tools for implementing preventive activities, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, and identify good practices;
  • contribute to the development of Community action programmes and strategies relating to the protection of safety and health at work, without prejudice to the Commission’s sphere of competence;
  • ensure that the information disseminated is easily understood by the end-users.

The Agency collaborates as closely as possible with institutions, foundations, specialist bodies and programmes at Community level in order to avoid any duplication. For example, it works together with the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

The Agency will set up a network comprising:

  • the main component elements of the national information networks, including the national social partner organisations in accordance with national legislation;
  • the national focal points;
  • European topic centres.

Member States regularly inform the Agency of the main component elements of their information networks on health and safety at work. The relevant national authorities coordinate and forward the information to be provided to the Agency at national level.

The Agency has legal personality. Its steering and management structure comprises a Governing Board, a Bureau and a Director.
Its Governing Board comprises 78 members, of whom 25 members represent the governments of the Member States, 25 members represent employer organisations, 25 members represent employee organisations and three members represent the Commission. The Members of the Governing Board have a three-year term of office which is renewable. The Board’s headquarters is in Bilbao, Spain.

The Governing Board determines the Agency’s strategic objectives and adopts its budget, the rolling four-year programme and the annual work programme on the basis of a draft drawn up by the Director after consultation of the Commission and of the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work. By 31 January each year at the latest, the Governing Board adopts an annual general report on the Agency’s activities.

The Bureau comprises 11 members: the chairman and the three vice-chairmen of the Governing Board, one coordinator for each of the three groups of representatives (employers, workers and government), an additional representative for each of these three groups, and a Commission representative. The Bureau monitors the implementation of the Governing Board’s decisions and takes all necessary steps to ensure that the Foundation is managed properly between meetings of the Governing Board

The Agency is headed by a Director appointed by the Governing Board.

Since November 2003, the Regulation establishing the Bilbao Agency has been in line with the new Financial Regulation applicable to the General Budget of the European Communities (June 2002) and the Regulation on public access to documents (May 2001).

Establishment of the Agency

The inaugural meeting of the Governing Board took place at the Agency’s headquarters in Bilbao (Spain) on 25 and 26 October 1995.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2062/94

18.07.1994

Official Journal L 216 of 20.08.1994

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1643/95

29.06.1995

Official Journal L 156 of 07.07.1995

Regulation (EC) No 1654/2003

30.10.2003

Official Journal L 245 of 29.09.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1112/2005

04.07.2005

Official Journal L 184 of 15.07.2005

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council regarding the Commission’s report on the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (progress report 1996-2000) [COM(2001)163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Exposure to carcinogens and mutagens

Exposure to carcinogens and mutagens

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exposure to carcinogens and mutagens

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Exposure to carcinogens and mutagens

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (Sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC).

Summary

This Directive does not apply to workers exposed only to the forms of radiation covered by the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom Treaty). It applies to workers exposed to asbestos when its provisions are more favourable than those of Directive 83/477/EEC (as last amended by Directive 2003/18/EC).
Directive 89/391/EEC applies in full, without prejudice to more binding and/or more specific provisions contained in this Directive.

In the case of any activity likely to carry the risk of exposure to carcinogens or mutagens, the nature, degree and duration of workers’ exposure must be determined on a regular basis in order to assess any risk to workers’ health or safety and decide the steps to be taken. All routes of exposure must be taken into account, including absorption into and/or through the skin. Particular attention must be paid to workers who are especially at risk.

EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATIONS

Reduction and replacement

Employers must reduce the use of a carcinogen or mutagen, particularly by replacing it, as far as is technically possible, with a substance, preparation or process that is not dangerous or is less dangerous.

Prevention and reduction of exposure

Employers must ensure that the carcinogen or mutagen is manufactured and used in a closed system. If this is not technically possible, employers must ensure that the level of exposure is as low as is technically possible.
Exposure must not exceed the limits set out in Annex III.

Information for the competent authority

Employers must provide the competent authority, on request, with information relating to such matters as the reasons for using carcinogens or mutagens, the preventive measures taken and the number of workers exposed.

Unforeseeable exposure

In the event of unforeseeable incidents or accidents likely to lead to workers being abnormally exposed, employers must inform their workers. Protective clothing and respiratory personal protective equipment must be worn, and exposure must be kept to the strict minimum necessary.

Foreseeable exposure

For certain activities, such as maintenance work, for which the likelihood of a significant increase in exposure is foreseeable and against which all preventive measures have been taken, employers must decide the measures necessary to reduce as far as possible the amount of time workers are exposed and to ensure that they are protected during these activities. Protective clothing and respiratory personal protective equipment must be worn, and exposure must be kept to the strict minimum necessary. Moreover, the areas used for such activities must be clearly demarked and indicated.

Access to risk areas

Employers must restrict access to risk areas to workers who, by virtue of their work or duties, are required to enter such areas.

Measures regarding hygiene and personal protection

Employers are required to take the following measures regarding hygiene and personal protection for all activities that carry a risk of contamination:

  • ensure that workers do no eat, drink or smoke in work areas where there is a risk of contamination;
  • supply workers with the appropriate clothes and provide separate storage places for work clothes and street clothes;
  • provide washing and toilet facilities;
  • properly store, check and clean protective equipment before and after every use.

Workers must not bear the cost of these measures.

Informing, training and consulting workers

Employers must take appropriate steps to ensure that workers and/or their representatives receive sufficient and suitable training about:

  • potential and additional health risks (smoking);
  • precautions for preventing exposure;
  • hygiene requirements;
  • protective clothing;
  • measures to be taken in the event of an incident.

Employers must ensure that containers, packages and installations containing carcinogens or mutagens are clearly and legibly labelled, and that warning signs are clearly displayed.

Appropriate measures must be taken to ensure that workers are able to assess whether the Directive is being applied correctly. They must be informed as quickly as possible in the event of abnormal exposure.

Employers must have an updated list of workers undertaking activities that carry a risk to their health and safety in terms of exposure to carcinogens and mutagens.

Workers and/or their representatives must be consulted about and involved in all matters related to exposure to carcinogens and mutagens.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Health monitoring

Member States must take steps to ensure that the health of every exposed worker can be adequately monitored. These must be such that it is possible to apply individual and work-related health measures. When a worker’s health is monitored, an individual medical file is to be created.
Practical recommendations relating to the monitoring of workers’ health can be found in Annex II.
All cases of cancer identified as resulting from exposure at work must be notified to the competent authority.

Record-keeping

The up-to-date list of workers who have been exposed, which the employer is required to keep, and individual medical files are to be kept for at least 40 years after the end of exposure.

Limit values

The Council sets out in directives, where possible, limit values for all carcinogens or mutagens and, where necessary, other directly related provisions. Annex III contains the limit values for benzene, vinyl chloride monomer and hardwood dusts.

Annexes I (list of substances, preparations and processes) and III (limit values) can be amended only by the Council (Article 137 of the EC Treaty).
Technical amendments to Annex II (practical recommendations relating to the monitoring of workers’ health) are adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 17 of Directive 89/391/EEC.

Context

This Directive is a consolidation Directive that replaces Directive 90/394/EEC and its subsequent amendments (Directive 90/394/EEC, Directive 97/42/EC and Directive 1999/38/EC). It makes no substantive changes and merely consolidates the body of texts which it replaces. The deadlines for the transposition of Directives 90/394/EEC, 97/42/EC and 1999/38/EC into national law continue to apply.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2004/37/EC

20.05.2004

Directive 90/394/EEC: 31.12.92
Directive 97/42/EC: 27.06.00
Directive 1999/38/EC:
29.04.03

OJ L 158 of 30.04.2004

Related Acts

Council Directive 1967/548/EEC of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances [Official Journal L 196 of 16.08.1967]

Directive of the European Parliament and the Council of 31 May 1999 concerning the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations [Official Journal L 200 of 30.07.1999]

Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work

Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSHW)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/C 218/01 of 22 July 2003 setting up an Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work and repealing Decisions 74/325/EEC and 74/326/EEC.

Summary

This new committee takes over the activities of the two former committees which now no longer exist:

  • the Advisory Committee for Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work, set up in 1974, for all economic activities except for the extractive industries and the protection of the health of workers against the dangers arising from ionising radiation;
  • the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and Other Extractive Industries, set up in 1957, whose remit was extended to all extractive industries.

This Committee has the task of assisting the Commission in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of all initiatives related to safety and health at work, in particular:

  • defining, within the framework of Community action programmes, the criteria and aims for preventing accidents at work and health hazards within the undertaking;
  • defining methods enabling undertakings and their employees to evaluate and improve the level of protection;
  • contributing, alongside the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, to keeping national administrations, trades unions and employers’ organisations informed of Community measures in order to facilitate cooperation and to encourage exchanges of experience and establish codes of practice.

In order to accomplish the above tasks, the Committee cooperates with the other committees involved in safety and health at work, inter alia with the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee and the Scientific Committee for Occupational Exposure Limits to Chemical Agents.

The Committee consists of three full members from each Member State: one government representative, one trade union representative and one employers’ representative. They are appointed by the Council for a three-year term, which is renewable.

It is chaired by a Commission official.

The Committee’s opinions are delivered by an absolute majority of the votes validly cast, and reasons are given for these opinions.

Context

Given the radical changes in working life over the past few years, the opportunities opened up by enlargement and the implementation of a new Community strategy on safety and health (2002-2006), it had become necessary to streamline the operation of the two existing advisory committees. The creation of the new Committee should allow the following objectives to be achieved:

  • extending this Committee’s role to all aspects related to safety, hygiene and health protection at work;
  • integrating the activities of the various bodies involved in defining and implementing Community policy on health and safety at work (cooperation with other advisory committees and with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work).

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2003/C 218/01

01.01.2004

Official Journal [C 218 of 13.9.2003]