Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 41,5 million
To improve safety, hygiene and health at work, in particular in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


The SAFE programme is established within the framework of the programme of non-legislative measures to improve health and safety at work (1996-2000) to address the particular needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in relation to health and safety. In this regard, the programme supports projects of a practical nature which are intended to support SME-specific requirements in a constructive and efficient manner. In particular, the SAFE programme focuses on:

- Promotion of information, training and education activities concerned with safety and health at work, aimed particularly at SMEs;
- Development of prenormative measures in relation to risk assessment;
- Study of problems encountered in SMEs in connection with well being at work;
- Cooperation between the social partners to improve awareness of problems connected with safety and health at the workplace;
- Development of non-legislative accompanying measures to supplement the legislative objectives.

The activities to be conducted under the SAFE programme are targeted at the following groups:

- Employees and workers;
- Health and safety personnel within SMEs (taking account of the different systems operating in the Member States);
- Experts from specialist institutes and bodies;
- Labour inspectors;
- Workers' and employers' representatives.


Projects of a practical nature intended to demonstrate:

- Promotion of improvements in the work place specifically directed at safety, hygiene and health at work;

- Improvements in the organization of work practice which influences attitudes towards health and safety at work, in order to reduce work accidents and occupational diseases.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the SAFE programme, under the framework of the Community programme of non-legislative measures to improve health and safety at work (1996-2000).

An indicative budget of ECU 41.5 million has been earmarked for the implementation of the SAFE programme. This appropriation is intended, for the most part, to provide support for SMEs for measures aimed at:

- Ensuring the proper in-house application of Community Directives dealing with safety and health protection at work;
- Establishing rigorous standards in the field of safety and health protection at work;
- Enabling the social partners to participate effectively in devising, formulating and implementing Community policies initiated by the Commission in the field of safety and health protection.

The Commission provides financial support for shared-cost projects involving other sources in the private/public sector. Community funding does not exceed 70% of the cost of the proposed project except in the case of networks and work ordered and of direct use to the Commission, where the subsidy may amount to 100%. In general, the level of the Community's financial participation for shared-cost projects within the 70% threshold depends on the scope of the measures to be financed and the extent to which the proposed project reflects the action programme of the Agency for Health and Safety at Work.

Consideration is also to be given under the programme to projects prepared by European organizations active in the field. Such projects should provide guidance for decisions concerning measures to be put into practice throughout entire sectors of activity, with an emphasis an actions carried out in more than one Member State.
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