Health and safety at work – Strategic Framework 2014-2020

EESC opinion: Health and safety at work – Strategic Framework 2014-2020

Key points


  • The EESC appreciates the Commission's intention to focus on prevention, rule simplification - without jeopardising existing protection levels - and proper compliance with rules. The strategy must strike a balance between a high level of protection and the administrative burden on firms.
  • The EESC welcomes the Commission's focus on SMEs, consulting them and providing them with information and guidelines, using ICTs and stepping up the coordination of public services supporting SMEs.
  • It is vital that there be more and better trained labour inspectors: the minimum number recommended by the International Labour Organisation (one per 10 thousand workers) has not been reached in about half of the Member States.
  • The EESC recommends that the Commission adopt measures to ensure young people, people recently made redundant, trainees and apprentices receive adequate, practical information and training.
  • The EESC calls for more investment in prevention by both firms and Member States, with guaranteed worker participation.
  • The EESC calls on the Commission urgently to publish the reporting and statistical analysis of the list of occupational diseases, including accidents during working hours. The work of specialist agencies should be stepped up and fully publicised and good practice should be publicised to help encourage a culture of prevention. Studies on new risks should be carried out in greater depth and proper measures (legislative or other) drawn up, following on from such research.
  • The EESC calls on the Commission to step up discussions and consultation with the social partners and to develop joint action, as this is vital for effective implementation of the strategy.
  • The EESC is critical of the fact that the Commission has not defined quantified objectives at EU level for accidents at work and occupational diseases and recommends that Member States incorporate such quantification into their national strategies.