Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 15 million

Official Journal Reference

C 66 of 1991-03-14

Legislative Reference

To respond to the special needs of the ECSC industries in maintaining and improving the conditions affecting workers' health, safety and well-being in these industries; to assist the ECSC to undertake the necessary work in the unique environmental conditions of their industries to comply with the proposed Community directives to meet Community standards; and to ensure the incorporation of the results of previous programmes in the long-term ECSC industrial activities.


Pursuant to Article 55 of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the Commission is required to promote technical and economic research relating to occupational safety in the coal and steel industries. The funds for this aid are derived form levies imposed on the production of coal and steel as provided for in Article 49 of the ECSC Treaty.

This sixth ECSC programme of ergonomics for the steel and coal industries builds on the results of the previous programmes in this field, aimed at protecting ECSC workers against the hostile physical environment of these two industries and at reducing the health and safety hazards to which they are exposed by defining requirements for the incorporation of prerequisite human factors into technological systems.

The results of the previous programmes have been made available within the Community and internationally. Within the ECSC this has been done through a Community ergonomics action network based on the national ergonomics teams and a central coordination and information unit who have ensured their rapid dissemination in appropriate form through handbooks, guidelines, reports, Community conferences and national information days. In the international scientific literature 215 publications based on projects in the programmes have been noted.


Areas of action:

- Development of previous results:
Transmutation of research results from the previous programme of ergonomics into the working tools of engineering design, equipment procurement and management;

- Materials handling and transportation:
Development, inter alia, of ergonomics aids for lifting and handling, and definition of the ergonomics parameters for inclusion in the design of appropriate semi-automatic systems;

- Steelmaking and mining operations:
Studies to assure the ergonomic needs for safety in production and logistic support systems in the ECSC industries;

- Maintenance work:
Studies aimed at developing guidelines to redesign maintenance tasks which can be predicted to be physically and/or psychologically stressful.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by the Standing Committee of Producers and Workers for Safety and Health in the ECSC industries and by a committee of scientific experts put in place for the duration of the programme.

A call for proposals for action projects will be made through the ergonomics teams which have been established nationally within the ECSC industries. Proposals may be submitted to the Commission by companies, research institutions, and other bodies, or individuals within the Member States of the Community. The appropriate national ergonomics team will inform the Commission of the level of priority it accords a project, submitted from within its Member State and relevant to its sector, with respect to its value in advancing the health and safety aims of its sector. During the programme, groups of related projects will be coordinated and monitored by appropriate working parties drawn from the committee of experts. Purposeful collaboration at the Community level will be encouraged if necessary to achieve critical mass efforts or to bring together necessary expertise otherwise scattered.

Work on machine design and physiological stress imposed by the environment of the ECSC industries has been extensive in previous programmes and will not be continued explicitly, although limited support may be considered in special circumstances.

The dissemination of results and information acquisition will use both classical mechanisms, such as publications and conferences, and newer communication methods through electronic means if appropriate. It will pay particular attention, whatever media is used, to ensuring that the results are transmuted for effective use by the non-research specialists in health and safety.
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