Priorities for occupational safety and health research in Europe
2013-2020 : summary report – (updated Jan 2014)
In June 2010, the European Council adopted the new 10-year Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; a strategy for delivering high levels of employment, productivity and growth and, at the same time, social cohesion . The strategy identifies the major challenges that Europe faces: demographic change, globalisation and rising global competition for natural resources, which all put pressure on the environment. The strategy is proposing five measurable EU targets for 2020 that will steer the process, which include targets for employment, research and innovation, climate... change and energy, education, and combating poverty. The key goals, set out in the strategy, are reflected in the seven flagship initiatives, the digital agenda and the agenda for new skills and jobs. All EU policies, instruments and legal acts, as well as financial instruments, should be mobilised to pursue the strategy’s objectives. The importance of mainstreaming priorities across policies is emphasised in many policy documents. The optimal achievement of objectives in some policy areas — including climate action, environment, consumer policy, health and fundamental rights — depends on the mainstreaming of priorities into a range of instruments in other policy areas. These policy goals have a clear relevance for safety and health at work and related research. Promoting good health is an integral part of the smart and inclusive growth objectives of Europe 2020. Keeping people healthy and active for longer has a positive impact on productivity and competitiveness. Thus, safety and health at work and OSH research have a role to play in delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Reaching the high-level goals of Horizon 2020 and the overall EU policies for the next decades will depend on the success of new enabler technologies such as those needed for new energy policies, climate adaptation and future manufacturing. However, new technologies will succeed only if the benefits are clearly visible and the potential risks are regarded as acceptable by society. This requires identifying and addressing stakeholder and public expectations and responding to their concerns in order to build trust and confidence and to show that the new technologies are ‘well under control’ (4). This in turn requires identifying and assessing the safety and health risks associated with new technologies and integrating OSH aspects in the development of new technologies and processes, as well as strengthening risk communication and OSH communication.