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Worker health and safety threatened by plant maintenance failures

06 August 2010

Companies and associations from the private and public sector, including some of Europe’s most well known companies, have joined forces with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/11 on safe maintenance.

A wide range of pan-European and international organisations have come together for EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/2011 on safe maintenance in a bid to reduce work-related accidents. The campaign, which builds on the achievements of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2008/09 on risk assessment, aims to raise awareness of proper workplace maintenance. Good practices in safe maintenance will be promoted through a variety of campaign activities including conferences, seminars and training sessions for workers, employees and other stakeholders involved in maintenance work.

"It is estimated that in Europe up to 20% of all workplace accidents are connected with maintenance and in a number of sectors over half of all accidents are maintenance-related. 10-15% of fatal accidents at work can be attributed to maintenance operations. Therefore, it is vital that maintenance is carried out properly, taking into consideration workers’ safety and health. EU-OSHA’s campaign partners will play an invaluable role through actively communicating the importance of safe maintenance in the workplace," said Dr Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA.

The campaign partners will help put safe maintenance on the agenda at both the European and national levels through their own campaigning events and communication networks. Knowledge and experiencesharing will be at the heart of the campaign and ensure that organisations reap the operational and economic benefits of safer maintenance. Across the EU, campaign partners will facilitate discussion on safe maintenance and its importance in minimising workplace hazards. For example, workshops will be organised that are targeted across industries as diverse as agriculture, construction and the chemical industry - traditionally seen as high-risk sectors where employees face greater risks to their health on a day-to-day basis.

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