Another delay in renewing EU health and safety strategy would put lives at risk

With the EU strategic framework for health and safety at work expiring in 2020, the first discussions on a new strategy will take place today at the European Employment, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Affairs Council.

Ministers from the EU member states are expected to adopt conclusions on a new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work, inviting the European Commission to present a new strategic framework for 2021-2027.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is pressing the Council and Commission to prioritise the renewal of a more ambitious strategy to avoid another a repeat of the two year delay that followed the expiry of the 2007-20212 strategy.

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said:

“The current EU strategic framework for health and safety at work will expire next year so a new strategy must be an urgent priority for the incoming European Commission.

“It took two years for the framework to be renewed after its last expiry. We cannot afford another delay when there are 3 million accidents at work in the EU every year, 4,000 of which are fatal, 100,000 deaths caused by work-related cancer, and a quarter of workers experiencing excessive work-related stress.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that another prolonged delay would put peoples’ lives at risk, so the EU institutions have a responsibility to take the lead in improving workplace health and safety. A renewed EU strategy would also contribute to member states developing and improving their own national strategies.  

“That’s why EU labour ministers meeting to discuss this issue today must ask the Commission to work with trade unions on a new EU strategy which focuses on prevention of occupational diseases, adapting current policies to the changing world of work and delivering more ambitious and enforceable targets in member states.”

The ETUC’s full position paper on a new EU strategy on Occupational Safety and Health can be found here:

The ETUC position is based on the opinion by the tripartite Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) recommending the European Commission to adopt a new EU strategic framework on Occupational Safety and Health following the current strategic framework.