Today in Brussels, the European Commission and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in cooperation with the Netherlands EU Presidency launched a two-year Europe-wide campaign: Healthy Workplaces for All Ages. Focusing on sustainable work and workplace safety and health in the context of the ageing workforce, the campaign provides a timely reminder that the younger workers of today are the older workers of tomorrow. We need to start now to cater for the needs of Europe’s future workplaces and workers. Workplaces that address the health challenges of an ageing workforce gain in productivity. This is good for workers and good for business.
The campaign focuses on Europe’s enterprises (both private and public) and the need to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life. By doing so, they will be protecting their workers’ health up to and beyond retirement age and their organisations’ productivity.
Commissioner Thyssen highlighted the timeliness of this campaign topic: ‘At a time when there are important discussions going on about the future landscape of occupational safety and health in the EU, this campaign is extremely relevant. We need to start now to cater for the needs of Europe’s future workplaces and workers. Workplaces that address the health challenges of an ageing workforce gain in productivity. This is good for workers and good for business.’
The Netherlands’ Presidency representative, Lodewijk Asscher, emphasized the need to make our labour market sustainable for the future. ‘This campaign contributes to it. We need to stimulate employers and workers to invest in employability. After all, using the power of people will always get the best result. It energises people no matter what age. Here, the cradle to the grave concept certainly applies. The sooner you start, the longer you stay healthy and vital, and the better you can cope with change. Because the jobs of today might not exist in the future or might look a lot different to now. Therefore, it is important not to wait until that happens, but to prepare properly in good time.’
Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA, underlined the business case for this campaign topic: ‘By focusing on sustainable working throughout working life, not only can all workers better protect their health, but companies are likely to see major benefits too. Healthy workers are productive workers, and productive workers are essential to any effective organisation: it’s a win–win situation. We therefore highly value the cooperation between EU-OSHA and our focal points, official campaign partners and media partners and thank them for all their efforts in previous campaigns. We look forward to working with them again over the next two years.’
This campaign’s objectives are four-fold:
- to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life;
to highlight the importance of risk prevention throughout working life;
to assist employers and workers (including in small and medium-sized enterprises) by providing information and tools for managing occupational safety and health in the context of an ageing workforce;
to facilitate information and good practice exchange.
This campaign topic is based on a European Parliament project conducted by EU-OSHA, ‘Safer and healthier work at any age’, along with various other EU-OSHA reports on safety and health in the context of the ageing workforce. As part of this new campaign, EU-OSHA is also releasing an e-guide on managing safety and health for an ageing workforce .