health and safety, a culture of prevention and lifelong learning are the focus
of the Conclusions on "Lifelong employability",
which the European Council adopted at its meeting on 6 December 2021. These
fundamental pillars aim to address the decline in the working age population,
the increase in life expectancy and the issue of ensuring adequate and
sustainable social protection systems.
Investing in lifelong employability pays off
employability should enable people to take up gainful employment and to remain
employed throughout their extended working lives. This can be achieved by
investing in quality jobs, fair working conditions, occupational health and
safety, upskilling and retraining as well as a better work-life balance.
Investment in occupational safety and health also has an economic benefit as
work-related injuries and illnesses cost society more than 3.3% of the GDP.
context of the European Commission's consultation on the so-called
"roadmap" for the EU's strategic framework for health and safety at
work 2021-2027, the German Social Insurance system also spoke out in favour of prevention that takes account of
the ageing of the working population. This is a prerequisite for a high level
of health and safety at work and a working environment that meets the
occupational health and safety requirements of workers, and enables them to
participate in the labour market for a long time. Both objectives are
enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Member States have a duty
States are invited to update their national legal frameworks and current
strategies for occupational health and safety, taking into account the EU
Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027. With lifelong
learning opportunities, they should help people keep pace with changes in the
world of work. It also aims to improve working conditions, social protection
and access to lifelong learning in atypical employment.
Mainstreaming occupational health and safety
wish to strengthen the mainstreaming of occupational health and safety in all
relevant policies and strategies, in particular in the areas of public health,
social welfare, general vocational training, digitisation and artificial
intelligence, as well as in public procurement. The desired promotion of a
culture of prevention by the Member States and the European Commission, each
within their respective competences, is very welcome.
Combating occupational cancers
European Commission should play its part in the rapid and full implementation
of the measures of the strategic framework which fall within its competence,
focusing on combating occupational cancers through further progress in setting
maximum allowable concentrations.
ambitious approach had already been called for by Marianne Vind (MEP/S&D),
the reporter responsible for the European Parliament's Committee on Employment
and Social Affairs. In its draft report on the new "EU Strategic Framework
for Health and Safety at Work 2021 - 2027", the European Commission calls
for the continuous revision of Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of
workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work,
so that the maximum allowable concentrations contained in the Directive apply
to at least 50 priority substances by 2024 (see report 10/2021).