Healthy Workplaces Summit promotes best practice for managing dangerous substances at work
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) welcomed European occupational safety and health (OSH) stakeholders to Bilbao, Spain, for the 2019 Healthy Workplaces Summit on 12.11.2019. After a successful 2-year campaign, the summit provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and share best practice for managing dangerous substances in the workplace.
There has been an unprecedented level of engagement with the 2018-2019 campaign. More than 350 activities have been organised by EU-OSHA’s focal points in over 30 countries involving over 17,000 participants.
Leading OSH experts and decision makers from across Europe join forces with EU institutions and EU-OSHA’s national focal points, official campaign partners, media partners and social partners to reflect on the achievements of and lessons learned from the 2018-19 campaign Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances. In doing so, they share knowledge and best practice and explore future strategies for the effective prevention and sustainable management of dangerous substances.
Many European workers are exposed to dangerous substances on a daily basis, and the use of hazardous chemicals is increasing. Our latest 2019 ESENER-3 survey confirms that 38 percent of European enterprises report potentially dangerous chemical or biological substances in their workplaces. EU-OSHA’s 2018-19 campaign has been very successful in raising awareness of the risks posed to workers and in promoting a culture of prevention.
Christa Sedlatschek, EU-OSHA’s Executive Director, highlights the Agency’s determination to create a risk prevention culture and how this has been reflected in the success of the campaign:
Parallel workshops were organised to encourage discussion among delegates — focus on:
- prevention measures for minimising exposure to carcinogens at work
- good practices and interventions
- the sustainable management and substitution of dangerous substances in production processes
- the future challenges for effective prevention
A highlight of the summit was the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards ceremony, which celebrated enterprises’ innovative contributions to improving OSH and promoting best practice. This year, 10 organisations were awarded and commended for their proactive and sustainable approaches to protecting workers from hazardous substances.
In the keynote speech, Greet Schoeters from the European Environment Agency, gave her perspective on how we can use the lessons of the past to inform and improve future practice.
The final session of the event looked at the preparations that are currently under way for the 2020-22 campaign — Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load . This campaign — the first to run on a 3-year cycle — aims to raise awareness of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and promote the management and prevention of this widespread and very relevant issue.
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