Community news|08/08/16

Contexts and arrangements for occupational safety and health in micro and small enterprises in the EU

Home > The news of EUROGIP and occupational risks in Europe > Contexts and arrangements for occupational safety and health in micro and small enterprises in the EU

The results of the first phase of EU-OSHA’s SESAME project (safe small and micro enterprises) provide a critical overview of occupational safety and health (OSH) in these enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs represent around 99% of EU enterprises and employ around 50% of European workers. Obviously, then, they are important for the economy and for society in general. But SMEs are also the focus of major, justified concerns regarding OSH.

Among the reasons why OSH management seems so difficult for these enterprises, the report identifies in particular:

  • the small resources that SMEs are able to invest in OSH infrastructure; 
  • employers’ limited knowledge regarding OSH and its regulatory requirements; 
  • the limited importance assigned to OSH by comparison with employers’ concerns for the economic survival of their business;
  • a lack of knowledge regarding the efficiency of strategies and actions aimed at supporting OSH in SMEs.

Other results regarding this SESAME project will be published over the next two years. They will be focused on successful policies, strategies and practical solutions for the improvement of OSH in SMEs.

loupe1According to the ESENER-2 survey, 30% of micro-enterprises do not carry out a regular assessment of occupational risks, compared with only 3% of enterprises with 250 employees or more. EU-OSHA therefore gives a reminder that there exists an Online Interactive Risk Assessment tool (OiRA) designed chiefly for SMEs, which has the advantage of being “easy to access and use, free, developed specifically for a sector of activity, regularly updated, instructive, proposing solutions and giving access to other sources of information”. “At mid-June, there were 93 tools available in 16 countries, around 32,500 users and more than 44,500 risk assessments performed with OiRA”, said Lorenzo Munar Suard, project manager at EU-OSHA.


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