French Council Presidency casts its shadow.

SW – 11/2021

The focus now seems to be on this topic, following the European Commission’s publication of the "EU Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027" in June 2021.

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

"Social dialogue as a tool for promoting health and safety at work" is the subject of an opinion being drawn up by the EESC at the request of the forthcoming French Council Presidency in the first half of 2022.

The French authorities consider that European initiatives have so far failed to provide sufficient impetus for social dialogue in the field of health and safety at work and see the EESC's forthcoming opinion as a contribution to the EU's work on the Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027.

A public hearing was held in the expert panel for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) on 17 November 2021. Two panels discussed the issues of meeting the challenges of a changing world of work and improving social dialogue and its impact on the health and safety of workers in Europe.

Clémentine Braillon of the French Ministry of Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion, representing the French Council Presidency, highlighted the promotion of solutions for workers with disabilities as an example of France’s potential contribution with its experience in the field of social dialogue.

Unsolicited opinion of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR)

The CoR is also currently dealing with the EU Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work 2021 - 2027, presented by the European Commission. With its unsolicited opinion, the CoR held a hearing on 23 November with the intention of giving the issue a stronger regional and local dimension. A working document prepared by the correspondent responsible for the opinion, Sergio Caci (IT/EPP), is already available.

In his working paper, the correspondent emphasises the role of local and regional authorities in implementing the strategic framework 'on the ground'. Monitoring, training, building a culture of prevention and protection of workers, cooperation through exchange of experience and tried and tested methods, as well as identification and assessment of problems with subsequent feedback are all approaches in which regions and towns/cities could play a key role.

Cooperation between regional and local authorities, the EU and the relevant national authorities, as well as with other towns/cities and regions could promote progress in the field of health and safety at work and help to build a culture of prevention.

As already pointed out by the correspondent of the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Marianne Vind (MEP/S&D) in her draft report on the strategic framework (see report 10/2021), the CoR correspondent calls for a more ambitious approach in individual areas of occupational health and safety.

For example, he believes that the issue of health and safety at work should be included in the EU regulation on artificial intelligence. With regard to health and safety at work for the self-employed and the legislative proposal on platform work expected in December, the correspondent points out.