Project: Priorities for occupational safety and health research in Europe for the years 2013-2020- Summary Report

Published

This project was submitted on 10/06/2014 and published by EU-OSHA

In June 2010, the European Council adopted the new 10-year Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; a strategy for delivering high levels of employment, productivity and growth and, at the same time, social cohesion (1). The strategy identifies the major challenges that Europe faces: demographic change, globalisation and rising global competition for natural resources, which all put pressure on the environment. The strategy is proposing five measurable EU targets for 2020 that will steer the process, which include targets for employment, research and innovation, climate change and energy, education, and combating poverty. The key goals, set out in the strategy,
are reflected in the seven flagship initiatives, the digital agenda and the agenda for new skills and jobs.
All EU policies, instruments and legal acts, as well as financial instruments, should be mobilised to pursue the strategy’s objectives. The importance of mainstreaming priorities across policies is emphasised in many policy documents. The optimal achievement of objectives in some policy areas— including climate action, environment, consumer policy, health and fundamental rights — depends on the mainstreaming of priorities into a range of instruments in other policy areas (2). These policy goals have a clear relevance for safety and health at work and related research.
Promoting good health is an integral part of the smart and inclusive growth objectives of Europe 2020.
Keeping people healthy and active for longer has a positive impact on productivity and competitiveness (3). Thus, safety and health at work and OSH research have a role to play in
delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Reaching the high-level goals of Horizon 2020 and the overall EU policies for the next decades will depend on the success of new enabler technologies such as those needed for new energy policies,
climate adaptation and future manufacturing. However, new technologies will succeed only if the benefits are clearly visible and the potential risks are regarded as acceptable by society. This requires identifying and addressing stakeholder and public expectations and responding to their concerns in
order to build trust and confidence and to show that the new technologies are ‘well under control’ (4).
This in turn requires identifying and assessing the safety and health risks associated with new technologies and integrating OSH aspects in the development of new technologies and processes, as
well as strengthening risk communication and OSH communication.

 The economic dimension of occupational safety and health
Work is an economic activity and occupational injury and illness are also matters of economics.
Understanding the role of economic factors in the aetiology of workplace ill health and the effects this has on the economic prospects for workers, enterprises and society is crucial for policy development and to support decision-making at enterprise and society levels.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), some two million people worldwide die every year from work-related accidents and diseases. An estimated 160 million people suffer from workrelated diseases and there are an estimated 270 million fatal and non-fatal work-related accidents peryear. The economic cost of these injuries and deaths are colossal at individual, enterprise and societal levels (ILO, 2007)(5), inhibiting economic growth and affecting the competitiveness of businesses.
Research on the economic dimension of OSH, including an estimation of the socioeconomic costs of the consequences of poor or no OSH and an analysis of the costs and benefits of OSH prevention, is necessary to support evidence-based policies and decision-making at society and enterprise levels.

Other
Agriculture, Aviation and Aerospace, Chemical, Construction, Education, Engineering, Entertainment and Leisure, Environmental and Waste management, Finance, Fire, Food and Drink, Healthcare, Local Authorities, Manufacturing, Media, Nuclear, Offices, Offshore, Other, Public Sector, Quarrying / Mining, Railway, Retail, Telecommunications, Transport

Organisation: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Institution
12 Santiago de Compostela,
(Edifici Miribilla) 5th Floor,
Bilbao,
E-48003 ,
SPAIN
Tel: + 34 944-358-400
Fax: + 34 944-358-401

Principal Investigator: Project managers: Katalin Sas, Adrian Suarez (EU-OSHA)

Other Researchers: Based on input from the Topic Centre- Occupational safey and health (TC-OSH)

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