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Health and safety at work is everybody’s business – Practical guidance for employers

The European Commission has published a practical guide for employers on occupational safety and health.

SW – 04/2017

The guide complements the Communication published by the EU Commission on 10 January 2017 “Safer and Healthier Work for All – Modernisation of EU Occupational Safety and Health legislation and policy” (see article “New initiative from EU Commission to improve OSH”). 

The guide is intended to provide employers with an overview of their main obligations. Examples include: the obligation to conduct a risk assessment of workplace hazards to protect employee safety and health; the obligation to implement preventive measures; and the obligation to promote an OSH culture. The guide also highlights existing tools, practical examples and other references.  


The guide is based on EU directives and needs to be adjusted to national circumstances. EU legislation sets minimum standards which the Member States are free to strengthen and widen; as such, employers must also comply with national legislation.  

However, OSH is not just about complying with laws and obligations. Rather, the Commission also stresses that OSH is a vital part of good business management. The success of a company reflects first and foremost the success of the workers which the employer invests in. Occupational safety and health is part of this investment. Experience has shown that every euro an employer invests in OSH provides a return on investment of two euros. The Commission’s evidence for this comes from a report from the International Social Security Association (ISSA) “Calculating the International Return on Prevention for Companies: Costs and Benefits of Investments in Occupational Safety and Health”.