Today in Brussels, the European Commission and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in cooperation with the Netherlands EU Presidency launched a two-year Europe-wide campaign:Healthy Workplaces for All Ages, which is the world’s biggest campaign in this area. Focusing on sustainable work and workplace safety and health in the context of the ageing workforce, the campaign provides a timely reminder that the younger workers of today are the older workers of tomorrow.
The campaign focuses on Europe’s enterprises (both private and public) and the need to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life. By doing so, they will be protecting their workers’ health up to and beyond retirement age and their organisations’ productivity.
Commissioner Thyssen highlighted the timeliness of this campaign topic: ‘At a time when there are important discussions going on about the future landscape of occupational safety and health in the EU, this campaign is extremely relevant. We need to start now to cater for the needs of Europe’s future workplaces and workers. Workplaces that address the health challenges of an ageing workforce gain in productivity. This is good for workers and good for business.’
The Netherlands’ Presidency representative, Lodewijk Asscher, emphasized the need to make our labour market sustainable for the future. ‘This campaign contributes to it. We need to stimulate employers and workers to invest in employability. After all, using the power of people will always get the best result. It energises people no matter what age. Here, the cradle to the grave concept certainly applies. The sooner you start, the longer you stay healthy and vital, and the better you can cope with change. Because the jobs of today might not exist in the future or might look a lot different to now. Therefore, it is important not to wait until that happens, but to prepare properly in good time.’
Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA, underlined the business case for this campaign topic: ‘By focusing on sustainable working throughout working life, not only can all workers better protect their health, but companies are likely to see major benefits too. Healthy workers are productive workers, and productive workers are essential to any effective organisation: it’s a win–win situation. We therefore highly value the cooperation between EU-OSHA and our focal points, official campaign partners and media partners and thank them for all their efforts in previous campaigns. We look forward to working with them again over the next two years.’
This campaign’s objectives are four-fold:
- to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life;
- to highlight the importance of risk prevention throughout working life;
- to assist employers and workers (including in small and medium-sized enterprises) by providing information and tools for managing occupational safety and health in the context of an ageing workforce;
- to facilitate information and good practice exchange.
This campaign topic is based on a European Parliament project conducted by EU-OSHA, ‘Safer and healthier work at any age’, along with various other EU-OSHA reports on safety and health in the context of the ageing workforce. As part of this new campaign, EU-OSHA is also releasing an e-guide on managing safety and health for an ageing workforce.
The Healthy Workplaces for All Ages 2016-17 campaign raises awareness of the importance of good occupational safety and health management and risk prevention throughout the working life and of tailoring work to individual abilities — whether at the start of a worker’s career or at its close. Like previous Healthy Workplaces Campaigns, it is coordinated at national level by EU-OSHA’s focal points and supported by official campaign and media partners.
The campaign has been launched on 15 April 2016. Key dates in the campaign calendar include the European Weeks for Safety and Health at Work (October 2016 and 2017) and the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards ceremony (April 2017). The campaign will end with the Healthy Workplaces Summit (November 2017), when all those who have contributed to the campaign will come together with EU-OSHA to take stock of the campaign’s achievements and the lessons learnt.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work. The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organises pan-European awareness raising campaigns. Set up by the European Union in 1994 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU Member States and beyond.