Asian, European nations launch OSH partnership
October 14, 2011
Several European and Asian countries are determined to make occupational safety and health (OSH) a part of corporate culture amid injuries, fatalities and diseases that loom in the workplace.
Sharing insights and experiences at a workshop here on Tuesday, 38 delegates from nations in both regions agreed that public policy and political campaigns were not enough and that employers and workers had to raise awareness about the importance of occupational safety and health to minimize accidents and improve productivity.
Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar, who officially opened the workshop, stressed the importance for all countries in the regions to improve global partnerships to implement OSH strategies to create decent working environments and a conducive business climate.
“Global partnerships can be enhanced through experience sharing in such forums, technical cooperation, training programs and the exchange of OSH experts,” he said, adding that Indonesia wanted to learn more from industrialized countries about OSH.
Kristin Schreiber, head of the European Commission’s external relations, neighborhood policy, employment and social affairs unit, said OSH has been widely implemented as part of the European social model.
“A safe and healthy workplace is a right of all citizens, a key factor of the new Europe 2020 strategy and helps address demographic changes,” she said.
Schreiber said that the EU had a strong legal framework that established minimum OSH requirements for all sectors and that member states were allowed to introduce more stringent measures to ensure decent employment and safe and healthy work environments.
According to EU directives, employers had to assess risks, provide information, consultations and labor training, make plans and introduce preventive measures and regularly monitor the heath condition of workers, she said.
Workers had to follow their employers’ instructions and report potential dangers in the workplace.
UK health and safety executive Tim Galloway said revitalization of OSH strategies in all sectors has contributed to his country’s success in reducing the occupational accident frequency rate to almost zero in the past decade.
“Strategic approaches can create frameworks for all communities and partnerships, set an effective targeting and focus on outcomes rather than outputs,” Galloway said.
“Risk-based OSH strategies are a must — not only to anticipate occupational accidents and diseases but also to benefit the economic cycle,” Galloway said, adding that the UK had shared its strategies and experiences with many Asian countries especially in manufacturing, Olympic and highrise building construction and general industries.