Health & Safety at Work – EU Strategic Framework (2021-2027)

EESC opinion: Health & Safety at Work – EU Strategic Framework (2021-2027)

Key points


  • believes that the protection against health and safety hazards on the job (OSH) is fundamental to ensuring decent working conditions, as enshrined in the Treaties, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in principle 10 of the European Pillar of Social Rights and is fundamental for reaching the UN SDGs .
  • broadly agrees with the strategic vision and measures set out in the strategic framework but also proposes to the Commission the integration of the several initiatives:
  • section 2.1: (i) a study on ways to guarantees a safe and healthy work environment for  the self-employed, (ii) the adoption of a legislative initiative on mental health;
  • section 2.2: (i) to include work-related cancer in the Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and extend the scope of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to reprotoxins and hazardous medicinal products, (ii) revision of the "Employers Sanctions Directive" (2009/52/EC) to make the penalties more severe, (iii) adoption of a legislative initiative on preventing psychosocial risks, (iv) adoption of a legislative initiative on musculoskeletal disorders .
  • section 2.3: (i) turn the Recommendation on the European schedule of occupational diseases into a directive, (ii) improve the Biological Agents Directive, (iii) setting a target for national labour inspection in compliance with ILO standards of one labour inspector for 10 000 workers by the end of the strategic framework. If this target is not met until 2027, to propose a legislative initiative;
  • recommends to integrate  the European Labour Authority (ELA)'s inspection activity within the strategic framework,
  • recommends to improve information and knowledge of OSH situations in the EU and the Member States,
  • stresses that in the process of revising existing OSH legislation at EU and Member states level, it is necessary to take into account the ecological, digital, demographic and social transformation of the European economy.
  • Member States have the responsibility to enforce OSH legislation at national level with appropriate instruments. The Commission is responsible for ensuring that Member States comply with OSH legislation.
  • that, when updating national OSH strategies, the Commission and the Member States promote social dialogue on OSH conditions, involving and consulting social partner,
  • In view of the challenges of globalisation, recommends that the Commission and the Member States work together closely with the ILO and the WHO to promote the right to safe and healthy working conditions.