European Week for Health and Safety at Work aimed to reduce number of workplace accidents

The European Week Health and Safety at Work week, which ran from October 22nd to October 26th was an initiative aimed at reducing the number of people harmed in accidents in their workplace. The scheme highlighted the key combination of good management and worker participation as essential to maintaining safety standards, and ran across Europe as a whole. 

It was organised by the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work and the group’s director Dr Christa Sedlatschek commented that when it comes to health and safety in the workplace, everyone is responsible, which is a sentiment I completely agree with. 

Employers are legally obligated to have strong health and safety codes in place to protect their workforce, but it should go beyond this – health and safety is a moral issue too, and any decent manager will not want to place their staff in harm’s way. 

However, staff also have a responsibility to behave sensibly, and to take personal responsibility for their own safety – if an employee follows instructions which they know to be unsafe the boss who gave them out is clearly to blame should injury occur, but so is the employee themselves. 

Dr Sedlatschek singled out the construction of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Olympic Games as a great example of how “things can go well” when there is co-operation between employers and employees. She noted that “strong leadership, clear lines of communication and the engagement of staff and partners in health and safety” helped to make the build the first ever fatality-free construction of an Olympic stadium. 

As part of the campaign two documents detailing best practice management and worker participation have been created, and both contain checklists which staff and employers can use to rate the effectiveness of their own workplace behaviour.


About the author: Grieves Solicitors specialise in providing legal support and advice for victims who have suffered from an accident at work