European Health & Safety Week 2009
European Health & Safety Week 19 - 25 October 2009 - "Healthy Workplaces" Campaign on Risk Assessment & National Inspection Day
This is year two of a two-year campaign aimed at employers, workers and TU Safety Representatives, and is intended to promote the benefits of completing and implementing good risk assessments. The campaign's about demystifying the risk assessment process, aims to raise awareness on this issue, provide information and practical advice, encourage activities that have a positive impact in the workplace, and identify and recognise good practice.
The focus of the second year of the campaign is promoting good practice in risk assessment with a central focus on European health and safety week itself which is 19 - 25 October 2009.
The overall aim of the Healthy Workplaces campaign is to promote an integrated management approach that takes into account the different steps of risk assessment.
The two-year risk assessment campaign seeks to convey clearly that risk assessment is a systematic examination of all aspects of the work undertaken to consider what can cause injury or harm, whether the hazards can be eliminated and, if not, what preventive or protective measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.
The campaign seeks to demystify the risk assessment process; risk assessment is not necessarily complicated, bureaucratic or a task only for experts.
It also promotes the idea of a participatory approach to risk assessment. It is essential for the workforce and safety reps to be consulted and involved in the risk assessment to ensure that hazards are identified, not only from principles of knowledge, but also by knowledge of working conditions and patterns of adverse effects upon workers.
Risk assessment with its component of worker involvement is one of the key elements in building a sustainable prevention culture.
Risk assessment is the start of the risk management process. It enables employers to understand the action that they need to take to improve workplace health and safety, as well as productivity. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has developed this European-wide information campaign focusing on risk assessment. The campaign addresses high risk sectors as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
By providing clear and simple guidance, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and HSEare seeking to ensure that all employers carry out effective risk assessments, and to take appropriate action to eliminate or control risks.
The main objectives of the European campaign on risk assessment are to:
- Encourage stakeholders at all levels to actively participate in a decentralised pan-European campaign.
- Raise awareness of the legal responsibility and the practical need to assess risks in the workplace.
- Promote a simple stepwise approach to risk assessment.
- Demystify risk assessment and the process of carrying out risk assessment.
- Encourage organisations, enterprises and SMEs to carry out their own risk assessment (in-house).
- Promote the idea that risk assessment is inclusive; it is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace, not solely the concern of employers (or experts), and benefits from a participatory approach to risk assessment.
- Support employers, workers' safety representatives, workers, practitioners, preventive services, policy makers and other stakeholders in improving risk assessment.
- Communicate that risk assessment is the first step towards systematic OSHmanagement.
The campaign is targeted primarily at the workplace level and those involved in the implementation of OSHmeasures: employers, trade unions, workers, safety representatives, OSHpractitioners, OSHprevention and insurance services, and others providing assistance and information at workplace level.
Intermediaries are an important secondary audience, including: policy makers (European and national), social partners (employer associations, worker/professional federations), Focal Points and their networks, European institutions and their networks, and NGOs.
- Risk assessment is not an objective in itself but a powerful tool for identifying the need for preventive measures. It is not just a matter of checking off a list of recognised hazards; it has to take into account the less visible ones, and the interactions between different factors.
- Everybody has an interest in an evaluation of the risks and corrective measures to be put in place, and everyone in the workplace has a valuable contribution to make; assessing OSHrisks is in the interest of both companies and their workers. It is a partnership approach and should be carried out with the active involvement of the whole workforce; workers have to be involved and consulted in the risk assessment process.
The European prevention approach:
- Avoid risks.
- Evaluate risks which cannot be avoided.
- Combat the risks at source.
- Adapt the work to the individual.
- Adapt to technical progress.
- Replace the dangerous with the non-dangerous or less dangerous.
- Develop a coherent overall prevention policy.
- Give collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures.
- Give appropriate instructions, information and training to workers.
HSEPrinciples of sensible risk management
HSEhave published the following:
1. Sensible risk management
* Ensuring that workers and the public are properly protected.
* Providing overall benefit to society by balancing benefits and risks, with a focus on reducing real risks - both those which arise more often and those with serious consequences.
* Enabling innovation and learning, not stifling them.
* Ensuring that those who create risks manage them responsibly and understand that failure to manage real risks responsibly is likely to lead to robust action.
* Enabling individuals to understand that as well as the right to protection, they also have to exercise responsibility.
2. Sensible risk management
is not about:
* Creating a totally risk free society.
* Generating useless paperwork mountains.
* Scaring people by exaggerating or publicising trivial risks.
* Stopping important recreational and learning activities for individuals where the risks are managed.
Reducing protection of people from risks that cause real harm and The EU week for Safety & Health is part of a wider two year 2008/09 European Campaign for Safety and Health at Work on risk assessment and is aimed at a wide range of stakeholders, including employers, workers and safety representatives, and is intended to promote the benefits of completing and implementing a risk assessment.
The campaign seeks to demystify the risk assessment process to show that risk assessment is not necessarily complicated, bureaucratic or a task only for experts.
The campaign also aims to raise awareness on the issue, provide information and practical advice, encourage activities that have a positive impact in the workplace, and identify and recognise good practice.
Wednesday of the week, 21 October is 'National Inspection Day'.
The Wednesday of European Health and Safety Week is traditionally designated "National Inspection Day" when all Trade Union Safety Representatives are encouraged to carry out an inspection of their workplace. In 2009 this is Wednesday 21 October. Attached for the assistance and information of Health and Safety Representatives is:
- CWU Health And Safety Inspections Guide For Safety Representatives,
- Health and Safety Inspections TUCGuide
Discussions have taken place with BT regarding activities during EU H&S Week and a separate LTB has been issued to BT Branches. A letter has gone to Royal Mail Group, Royal Mail Letters, Parcelforce Worldwide and Post Office Ltd proposing involvement and joint activities during the week this year as one of the UK's biggest employers. Branches, Area Safety Reps and Regional Health and Safety Forums will be kept updated on responses.
CWU Safety Representatives and CWU Regional Health and Safety Forum have over the years organised activities, events, campaigns and safety drives locally to their credit and we have requested that the employers ensure local management are supportive and that the Employers and Union can embrace European H&S Week in 2009 and that we can jointly organise some activities to raise awareness of the issues with a national especially as RMG, RML, PFW and POLall signed the new HSEStrategy 'Pledge' of support.
To find out more information, please follow the links below. Alternatively, you can visit the website of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.
The HSEhas a number of pages on the European Health and Safety Week. These are at:
New within the online resources on HSE's website are additional example risk assessments as well as a 'Risk Assessment and Policy Template', both available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/index.htm
The HSEguide to inspections, with sample forms is at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/inspections.htm
The TUCguide to risk assessment is at: www.tuc.org.uk/extras/riskassessment.pdf
The TUCguide to inspections is at: http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/insbooklet30auglowres.pdf