2017 Position on the Commission Communication on Occupational Health & Safety

Ceemet particularly welcomes the focus of the Communication on sharing of best practice, simplifying and reducing administrative burden while maintaining workers' protection and the focus on the culture of compliance in companies. However, the Commission missed the opportunity to make improvements to the existing regulatory regime by removing duplication and outdated provisions.

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Ceemet key messages

  • The European Union is one of the most regulated areas in the world in the field of occupational health and safety (OSH).
  • MET employers strive to achieve worker protection. A healthy and safe workforce is one of the key elements of a productive and competitive European manufacturing industry.
  • Dissemination of and application of best practice is the ideal way to ensure OSH protection for workers. Sector specific guidance has led to substantive improvements in risk management in many Member States. We are pleased that the Commission now recognise this and believe that the Commission is best placed to develop examples of how employers (including SME’s) should meet OSH Directive requirements.
  • In relation to risk management, the focus needs to be firmly placed on risk prevention and control, not risk assessment documentation. Unnecessary documentation does not protect workers and only creates administrative burdens.
  • Directives which are prescriptive in nature have a higher chance of becoming obsolete sooner than those which are more general. More framework-based directives, accompanied with guidance, is in our opinion the best way to legislate for OSH.
  • Development of good practice guides to help tackle Musculoskeletal and Psychosocial risks is a positive step taken by the Commission. A decision which recognises that it is not practical to legislate for these risks, as they occur both in and outside the workplace. We would advocate that the variety of jobs, in different sectors, requires a sectoral approach.
  • The Commission has recognised that health risk factors are present in both professional and private life. This acknowledgement is welcomed.
  • We are pleased that the Commission wants to ensure close collaboration with and full consultation of the social partners on all actions, but we stress the need for sectoral social partners to be included in this process.

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