Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme

To increase the level of protection against occupational risks of all types by increasing the efficiency of measures for preventing, monitoring and controlling these risks.


This first programme of action on safety and health at work was drawn up in accordance with the Council Resolution of 21 January 1974 on a social action programme (Official Journal No C 13 of 12.2.1974) and was based on Articles 117 and 118 of the EEC Treaty.

In its Resolution of 29 June 1978 (Official Journal No C 165 of 11.7.1978), the Council took note of the action programme from the Commission annexed to the Resolution, approved its general objective and expressed the political will to take the measures required so that by the end of 1982 actions could be undertaken in the following areas:
- Accident and disease aetiology connected with work;
- Protection against dangerous substances:
- Prevention of the dangers and harmful effects of machines;
- Monitoring and inspection - improvement of human attitudes.

The Council invited the Commission to take the necessary initiatives for the implementation of the Resolution and to ensure the closest possible coordination with work undertaken in other fields, notably in the context of the Council Resolution of 17 December 1973 on industrial policy (Official Journal No C 117 of 31.12.1973) and in the context of the Community action programmes on the environment.

Three general objectives were set by the Commission:
- Improvement of the working situation with a view to increased safety and with due regard to health requirements in the organization of the work;
- Improvement of knowledge in order to identify and assess risks and perfect prevention and control methods;
- Improvement of human attitudes in order to promote and develop safety and health consciousness.

In defining the initiatives to be undertaken, the Commission took into consideration several studies made and consultations held over the preceding two years. It also took into consideration the experience gained by the Commission in the coal and steel industries and the nuclear fuels industry where, under the terms of the ECSC and Euratom Treaties, research programmes and work on harmonization and standardization in accident and disease prevention had already been carried out for many years.


Six initiatives:

- Incorporation of safety aspects into the various stages of design, production and operation:
. Setting up of undertakings and planning of layout and equipment;
. Organization of work within undertakings or between several undertakings;
. Manufacture and use of machinery, equipment and tools;
. Handling of dangerous substances and preparations;

- Determination of exposure limits for workers with regard to pollutants and harmful substances present, or likely to be present, at the workplace:
. Non-ionizing radiation and other physical agents;
. Harmonization of exposure limits;
. Directives on specific pollutants;
. Carcinogens;
. Toxicological evaluation;

- More extensive monitoring of workers' safety and health:
. Monitoring of the effectiveness of safety and protection measures;
. Monitoring of hygiene and working conditions;
. Monitoring of workers' health;
. Special monitoring;
. Industrial toxico-vigilance;
. Inspections;

- Accident and disease aetiology and assessment of the risks connected with work:
. As regards accidents, to draw up Community statistics concerning other sectors, to launch sectoral in-depth studies and to harmonize accident definitions and methods of reporting accidents in order to establish more precisely the aetiology of accidents;
. As regards diseases due to work, to collect and analyse national statistical information and to draw up proposals for methodologies with a view to a common approach so that calculations may be made of mortality, sickness and absenteeism rates;

- Coordination and promotion of research on occupational safety and health:
. Establishment of two permanent inventories of research in progress (occupational safety and medicine) at national level;
. Research work aimed at closing the gaps in knowledge on toxic agents and their effects on health;

- Development of safety and health consciousness by means of education and training:
. Theoretical and practical instruction to give children and young people an awareness of the risk of accidents;
. Instruction to develop a sense of moral and public responsibility regarding health and safety protection;
. Community models for safety training and refresher courses for certain categories of staff;
. Community models for presenting various aspects of safety to newly recruited workers, migrant workers and workers who have changed jobs;
. Manuals and codes of practice with regard to sectoral activities or dangerous jobs;
. Targeted safety campaigns;
. Extension of group training courses already in existence to other groups of persons concerned with accident prevention and safety measures;
. Coordination of actions to include accident and disease prevention in education and general information for certain population groups.


The Commission was responsible for implementing the programme, assisted by the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work which was set up by Council Decision 74/325/EEC of 27 June 1974.

As one of the primary conditions for the implementation of the programme, the Commission called for full participation of both sides of industry in preventive and protection measures. It further emphasized the importance of improving liaison between Member States in order to avoid duplication of effort and with a view to organizing joint action in international agencies such as the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training.

The Commission was invited to submit an annual report to the Council on the progress made in implementing the programme.
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