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Successful safety campaign relaunches in 2010

Author : Paul Gay

21 December 2009

The world's biggest workplace health and safety campaign – the Healthy Workplaces Campaign, organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work – has reached more people than ever before, and will be relaunched in 2010 in an ongoing programme to keep European workers safe. A new campaign will run through 2010 and 2011 and will be officially launched on 28 April next year on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

OSHA safety campaign
OSHA safety campaign

The Agency is already inviting nominations for the European Good Practice Awards for 2010-11, which will recognise companies or organisations that have found innovative ways to support safe maintenance.

Commenting on the new campaign, Agency Director Jukka Takala said: “With over 450 Europeans dying every day from work-related causes, and with 6% of European GDP being lost because of work accidents and ill health, it is vital that we continue to focus on workplace health and safety. I am convinced that the campaign on safe maintenance will build on the success of the risk assessment campaign, and continue to reach out to Europe's workers.”

The latest campaign on risk assessment, which ended last month, saw record levels of involvement across all the EU member states and beyond. Hundreds of events were organised around the theme of risk assessment and its importance, over two million information sheets, DVDs and other pieces of campaign material were made available for free, and for the first time, over 40 prominent European organisations got involved in the campaign as official partners. Takala commented: “The high level of participation in the campaign over the past months reflects the importance of risk assessment for healthy workplaces.”

Throughout the campaign, the Agency closely co-operated with its network of national focal points, as well as employer and worker groups, health and safety institutions, and professional organisations with which it works throughout Europe.

The risk assessment campaign, which has had backing at the highest level in Europe, emphasised the fact that the regular assessment of workplace risks is the key to health and safety management. But risk assessment is not something that needs to be complicated, bureaucratic, or left to experts: rather it is something that organisations of all sizes can carry out (as the law requires them to do). And with the Agency's new Risk Assessment Tools Database, which makes checklists, guidance documents and other resources, either generic or branch/risk-specific, freely available across Europe, it is now even easier to carry out risk assessments simply and efficiently.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and partner organisations arranged more than 30 events during the campaign, directly reaching over 1000 individuals to help spread the message that risk assessments should be fit for purpose and not over complicated.

Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair, said: "Risk assessments are about practical steps to protect people and get jobs done safely. This campaign has helped us to show that the best approach to managing risk is one of common sense that is proportionate to the potential risks involved."

HSE distributed over 20,000 campaign action packs to help organisations take part in the 2009 campaign.

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