European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2022 – reflections on a successful Healthy Workplaces campaign
The European Week for Safety and Health at Work is always a highlight of the Healthy Workplaces campaign. It is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of active, participative workplace safety and health management, particularly in managing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This year (24-28 October) was no exception, with hundreds of events organised across Europe to celebrate.
Reflecting on a successful Healthy Workplaces campaign
This was the last European Week for Safety and Health at Work within the Healthy Workplaces ‘Lighten the Load’ 2020-2022 campaign. As such, it offered an important platform for assessing national and pan-European campaign successes. Our campaign network continues to impress in its strength, depth and activity – including national focal points, official campaign partners, media partners and occupational safety and health (OSH) ambassadors from the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).
National focal points in Slovakia and Cyprus gathered a wide range of OSH stakeholders to review past achievements, plan future activities and seek opportunities for further collaboration. Official campaign partner CEMBUREAU marked the week by hosting a webinar to discuss MSDs and brainstorm best prevention practices. EEN Poland hosted a series of OSH open days, providing information and promotional materials. Our media partners were also an important part of the action. The media partner rhsaludable in Spain brought experts and leading companies together to discuss best practice.
Our social media platforms were a flurry of activity, with events, resources and key messages being shared far and wide. Over the course of the Week, we received over 1,500 mentions (an average of 48 per day), representing an increase of over 300% compared to the European Week 2021. For a flavour of all the exciting and informative activities that our partners contributed to, check out our Twitter moment.
The multiplier effect: raising awareness and sharing best practice
The European Week was an opportunity for many, including focal points in Croatia, Malta and Norway, to highlight the importance of MSD prevention one last time within the framework of the campaign. Cross-sector collaboration and information sharing featured prominently, for example during an event in Spain dedicated to lightening the load for all activity sectors. Some focused on the current campaign priority area of psychosocial risks and their important link to MSDs, such as our national focal points in Portugal and Italy.
Sharing best practice was a common theme throughout the Week, with Good Practice Awards being celebrated in Belgium. High profile events such as these produce a multiplier effect, where ‘real-life’ examples of best practice can be shared and replicated. We also took the campaign to the heart of the EU, where the EU-OSHA Brussels Liaison Office addressed the Opening Conference of the European Council and hosted an Info Point.
Exploring new MSDs challenges and looking to the future
While MSD prevention was a key message throughout the Week, rehabilitation and the return-to-work process were also on the agenda in Poland, where our focal point gathered the Network of Health and Safety Experts for People with Disabilities. Reflecting the importance of workers’ mental wellbeing, particularly in the context of Europe’s ageing workforce, an event in Belgium explored how the mental health of older workers can be protected in both policy and practice.
Indeed, a multitude of events took the opportunity to share practical tools that can be used to manage MSD risk factors, such as in Ireland. Looking to the future, teleworking and digitalisation were identified as future challenges for MSD prevention. A conference in Hungary addressed how employers are having to adapt to evolving forms of working. On the topic of digitalisation, we now start to look ahead to our upcoming Healthy Workplaces campaign 2023-2025: ‘Safe and healthy work in the digital age.’
We delve deeper into the impact of the campaign and future themes at the upcoming Healthy Workplaces Summit, that you can follow via live stream!