Making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work
This short post is a quick summary of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and why they matter to us here in the UK.
Formed in 1994, EU-OSHA is a decentralised agency of the EU, meaning that decisions are made by people within the organisation and not European government officials for example. Headquartered in Bilbao Spain, the agency is tasked with collecting, analysing and distributing information that serves the needs of people involved in health and safety.
Currently led by EU-OSHA Director Dr Christa Sedlatschek, the agency acts as the information centre for occupational health and safety within the EU by working with a network of partner organisations (the Health and Safety Executive for example). The agency's activities are divided into three categories:
- Analysis and research
- Campaigning and awareness
At its core, EU-OSHA are the occupational health information agency for the European Union.
The agency's vision is to be seen as a leader in the promotion of safe and healthy workplaces in Europe. Tripartism - through which employers, organisations such as EU-OSHA and governments work together toward economic or social benefit - along with participation and the development of an OSH risk prevention culture to 'ensure a smart, sustainable, productive and inclusive economy'.
This is coupled with their mission to: 'develop, gather and provide reliable and relevant information, analysis and tools to advance knowledge, raise awareness and exchange occupational safety and health (OSH) information and good practice which will serve the needs of those involved in OSH.' has proceeded in creating the long term strategy for the organisation.
EU-OSHA's long term strategy
- Anticipate change
- Facts and figures
- Tools for the management of occupational safety and health
- Raising awareness of occupational safety and health
- Knowledge - through OSHWIKI
Here I want us to focus on point number five and the OSHwiki, which is our hidden agenda of this post!
The OSHWiki is open to anyone and everyone, a free encyclopaedia of some of the most accurate and reliable information on occupational safety and health. In their own words, an authoritative source. In a similar fashion to Wikipedia, anyone can consult on articles within the OSHWiki and accredited authors can support the growth of this knowledge database.
One of the aims of OSHwiki is to create a participatory culture (linking back to EU-OSHA's vision of creating a culture of participation). This free source of information covers a very wide variety of topics, this list is taken directly from EU-OSHA's website so to be as specific as possible:
- OSH in general
- OSH management and organisation
- Prevention and control strategies
- Dangerous substances (chemical and biological)
- Physical agents
- Work organisation
- Psychosocial issues
- Sectors and occupations
- Groups at risk
You can access EU-OSHA's introduction to the wiki here
What's the structure behind EU-OSHA?
As we touched on before, the agency is governed as follows:
- The Executive Director, Dr Christa Selatschek and her senior team, which includes the Head of Communication and Promotion, Head of Prevention and Research and Head of Resource and Service centre. It's interesting to note that the role of Executive Director is for a fixed term of five years and can only be renewed once.
- The management board, which as well as setting the long-term goals, holds the Executive Director accountable. Comprised of representatives from EU Member States, the board includes governments, employers, workers and the European Commission. The management board also contains the Executive Board which are tasked with implementing the boards decisions.
- EU-OSHA has advisory groups whose role is to provide 'strategic guidance' and feedback on the work carried out by the organisation. Appointed by the Management Board, members of advisory groups are generally comprised of workers, employers and government.