The administrative board of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work held its first meeting in Bilbao, Spain, on 26 October 1995. Mr. Padraig Flynn, European Commissioner with responsibility for employment and social affairs (including health and safety matters), welcomed the fact that the Agency was now operational: "I attach the greatest importance to this Agency because I expect it to play a key role in the field of worker protection." The members of the administrative board, representing the Member States, the employers organizations, the employees' organizations and the Commission, will elect a President, two Vice-Presidents, adopt a budget and launch the process to recruit a director. The agency, which is financed by the European Commission, will initially employ ten people and become operational in the course of 1996. The agency's first priority will be to create a network linking up national "Health and safety at work" information networks and any institutions which could contribute to its work. The aim of this European network is to facilitate the provision of technical, scientific and economic information to the Community bodies, the Member States and those involved in the field of health and safety at work. The Agency's aims are as follows : - Systematic collection of scientific and technical information, in order to provide the Commission and committees of experts (e.g. the Scientific Experts' Group) with the necessary assistance in preparing and assessing the action planned in the field of occupational safety and health. This work may include preparation of scientific reference documents, preparation and administration of questionnaires to obtain scientific and technical information, and acquisition of data for economic impact assessment; - Rapid gathering of technical and scientific information on topics of current interest so that the Commission can respond to the demands made, including written and/or oral parliamentary questions; - Establishment and update of a register of databases relevant to European safety and health; - Development of specific sources and databases (e.g. on safety and health hazards and worker exposure, patterns of occupational illness and absenteeism, solutions to technical problems, protective equipment); - Maintenance of a database listing research work undertaken by the Member States in the field of occupational safety and health and identification of new research programmes; - Dissemination of the results of research work and technical development programmes which are covered by the Community's research programmes and deal with occupational safety and health; - Establishment of a reference library of technical and scientific information on occupational safety and health; - Establishment of networks to obtain information on specific aspects of occupational safety and health; - Production and publishing of the magazine "Janus" on health and safety at work; - Contribution to the organization of special events such as European safety and health days; - Exchanges of specialists between Member States; - Cooperation with the other Community agencies and bodies on safety and health at work; - Gathering of technical and scientific information on occupational safety and health and the results of other Community institutions' work programmes; - Information exchange with countries and organizations outside the European Union, to link the agency network and topic centres with information bodies of international organizations which provide this type of information and service.
Policy making and guidelines
28 July 1995