a hearing of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the costs and
benefits of investments in occupational safety and health, the EESC has
published a draft opinion bearing the same name which was prepared by rapporteur Adam Rogalewski (Workers
– GRII/Poland). We reported on the hearing in July 2019.
OSH contributes to economic success
can be seen in the draft report, studies conducted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) have
shown that investing in occupational health and safety not only increases
employee satisfaction, but also increases profits. This is primarily
attributable to cost savings and increased productivity. The significance of
these savings is reflected by the fact that it is estimated that 3.3% of
European GDP is spent on dealing with work-related injuries and diseases. The number of accidents in Europe resulting in
compensation was more than 3.2 million (excluding deaths).
are many new challenges which need to be addressed, such as job quality,
equality and digitalisation.
the list of recommendations for improvements is long. Particular emphasis is
placed on support for SMEs, tailoring solutions to the needs of workers and digitalisation.
For example, the shortcomings in OSH organisation in SMEs should be overcome
and companies should be given targeted financial support with adequate
incentive systems for implementing occupational safety and health.
of the greatest challenges is the increase in psychosocial risks. The causes of
these risks are unknown, so it is important to pay attention to related
factors, such as new workflows resulting from digitalisation, presenteeism,
etc. Suggestions include ensuring standard working conditions that are
individually tailored to the worker.
Right to OSH
addition to social and societal objectives, the report states that OSH is not
only a societal responsibility, but also a fundamental labour right.
Accordingly, there is also a demand to make access to OSH possible irrespective
of gender, ethnicity, age and disability. Ideally, this should cover all
countries worldwide, or at least those countries with which the EU has ratified
Dynamic joint process
OSH represents a process that permanently adapts to the constantly changing
world of work. It is important to put in place interdisciplinary measures and
ensure the exchange of good practices between Member States. The social
partners and relevant organisations also play an important role. Investment in
occupational safety and health will result in benefits if there is solid
cooperation between all those involved.