Health and safety at work: new strategic framework

The European Commission’s Directorate for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion published in June a report and a Communication on an EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work. This follows a consultation from 2013 where EPF flagged patients’ specific needs in the workplace and the need to be further involved in policies on safety and health at work (EPF response, 2013, PDF).

Health and Safety at work is an important area at the EU level. Various legislations have been adopted to set minimum safety requirements for the workplace in all sectors of activities, and to protect worker against specific risks.

The EU is also taking non-legislative actions to promote good practice in this area. The European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (OSHA) is the body that disseminates information, offers guidance and promotes healthy working environments.

Chronic conditions in the report

EPF welcomes the fact that the Consultation’s report reflects stakeholders’ willingness to put more focus on workers with chronic diseases. Workers with chronic health problems were identified as a vulnerable group that should be covered by the EU OSHA framework. Establishing “innovative approaches concerning the inclusion and reintegration of people with chronic conditions” was listed among the more frequent proposed solutions to challenges in health and safety at work.

The new strategic framework

The new strategic framework will focus on addressing 3 challenges:

  • to improve implementation of existing health and safety rules, in particular by enhancing the capacity of micro and small enterprises to put in place effective and efficient risk prevention strategies;
  • to improve the prevention of work-related diseases by tackling new and emerging risks without neglecting existing risks;
  • to take account of the ageing of the EU's workforce.

The Communication also highlights that the European Social Fund 2014-2020 will “support the recruitment and return to work of people with a chronic or rare disease, disability or mental health disorder through integrated pathways combining various forms of employability measures”.
EPF is pleased with this new framework and call the EU institutions, the OSHA agency and Member States to continue their efforts in this direction. We believe it is essential to achieve EU 2020’s goal of “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”.

Contact: Laurène Souchet, EPF Policy Officer,


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