More ambitions for health and safety at work!

The Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) adopted on Tuesday 1 February its report on the strategic framework for health and safety at work presented by the European Commission for the period 2021-2027.

Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, shadow rapporteur for the Renew Europe group on this text, welcomes the main lines of the action plan proposed by the European Commission: anticipating and adapting to the digital, ecological and demographic transitions, improving the prevention of work-related illnesses and accidents with the ambition of zero deaths and preparing for all types of health crises.

Nevertheless, the Renaissance MEP and her colleagues were keen to strengthen the means to achieve the stated ambitions, including:

  • Against cancer at work, an important pillar of the European Cancer Plan: through more prevention, thanks to an action plan to regulate more carcinogenic substances and a strengthening of the asbestos directive, but also through better recognition and compensation for occupational cancers, and by promoting the maintenance of or return to employment during and after cancer or other diseases.
  • For mental health, by strengthening European legislation: the EMPL committee reiterates its demands for a directive dedicated to psychosocial risks, for the introduction of a right to disconnect and for a Europe-wide framework on teleworking.
  • Against future health crises: the report calls for enhanced coordination of national workplace crisis response plans, especially in cross-border regions.  

Finally, the MEP stressed the importance of the links between public health and health at work. Beyond risk prevention, workplaces are important sites for health promotion (by encouraging healthy lifestyles).

Véronique Trillet-Lenoir: “It is by ensuring synergies with the European Cancer Plan, by drawing the lessons of the Covid crisis and by strengthening the links between the world of health and the world of work that we will be able to better fight against diseases, particularly chronic diseases. The European Commission has the right level of ambition, zero deaths, but we need more resources and tools to achieve this. That is what our group is proposing in this report.”