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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 28 April 2014

Working conditions: Commissioner Andor and ILO Director General agree to reinforce cooperation on health and safety at work

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, and ILO Director General, Guy Ryder, have agreed to step up cooperation in the area of health and safety at work as a means to enhance synergy and promote consistency in the way occupational safety and health challenges are addressed at global level, and so better address this key challenge across the world. The agreement coincides with the conference on working conditions hosted by the European Commission in Brussels today - the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Worldwide, every 15 seconds a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease and 160 workers have a work-related accident.

"Improving safety and health at work in all countries is a priority for both the ILO and us. We already carry out successful joint actions, for example the sustainability compact in Bangladesh. By stepping up our cooperation we will be more effective in our efforts to improve occupational safety and health across the world", Commissioner Andor commented.

"The World Day for Safety and Health at Work affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy working environment. Yet there is still so much more to be done - and which can be done - to bring down the incidence of workplace related deaths, injuries and illness. Today we call on all who have a role to play in worker safety - at the global, regional, national and workplace levels - to work together and to act with a sense of real urgency. The ILO and the EU have an outstanding partnership on safety and health at work, and we will reinforce our cooperation in this area", ILO Director General Guy Ryder added.

Andor and Ryder agreed to improve their cooperation because the European Commission and the International Labour Organization:

  • have a mutual interest in supporting each other's activities, in particular concerning cooperation in promoting occupational safety and health in emerging economies, implementing the decent work agenda and improving working conditions in global supply chains

  • share a preventative approach to counter occupational and work-related diseases, in particular by tackling new and emerging risks related to physical and mental health, associated with new technologies and new work organisation patterns. In this framework, they agree on the need to explore possibilities to improve cooperation in the area of prevention and on data collection on occupational and work-related diseases

  • recognise the vital role played by labour inspectorates in prevention, advice and enforcement at enterprise level and acknowledge the complementary role that private compliance initiatives could play in improving working conditions. They both highlight the need to reinforce the capacity of labour inspection and enforcement institutions and the role of technical assistance and capacity building to that aim

  • share a common understanding of the need to reinforce the tripartite occupational safety and health governance culture at all levels and therefore the importance of promoting the active participation of governments, employers' and workers' organisations in the development of OSH policies and programmes.

The High Level Meeting, consisting of high level representatives of the Commission and ILO, will be asked to follow up the agreement between Commission Andor and Director General Ryder.

Background

A recent Eurobarometer survey on working conditions carried out in the 28 Member States (IP/14/467), a slight majority of Europeans (57%) consider that working conditions in their country have deteriorated in the last five years, even if more than three quarters (77%) are satisfied with their own working conditions. There are also wide differences in levels of satisfaction among Member States.

The EU relies on a comprehensive set of policies and legislation that aims at supporting better working conditions in the EU, including minimum standards of labour law and occupational safety and health. Last year, the European Commission also proposed two Quality Frameworks on Restructuring (IP/13/1246) and on Traineeships (IP/13/1200). The Quality Framework on Traineeships was adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers in March 2014 (IP/14/236).

On 7 April 2014, the European Agency for Safety at Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launched the "Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress" campaign to raise awareness about the psychological, physical and social risks linked to stress at work (see IP/14/386).

For more information

ILO- Health and safety at work

Eurobarometer "Working Conditions in the EU"

Conference on Working Conditions, Brussels, 28 April 2014

Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh

Rights at work

Restructuring

László Andor's website

Follow László Andor on Twitter

Subscribe to the European Commission's free e-mail newsletter on employment, social affairs and inclusion

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Cécile Dubois (+32 2 295 18 83)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail


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