New Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work to assist Commission
The Council of the European Union has decided to set up an Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work. As a standing body, the advisory committee will assist the Commission in the preparation and implementation of activities in the area of safety and health at work. It will facilitate cooperation between national administrations, trade unions and employers’ organisations.
The new Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work will take force from 1 January 2004, further to a decision by the Council of the European Union (OJ C 218).
The Commission Communication, Adapting to change in work and society: a new Community strategy on health and safety at work 2002-2006 (pdf format) emphasises that effective implementation of Community law requires close cooperation between the Commission and the Member States’ administrations. The establishment of a single advisory committee on health and safety at work is aimed at enhancing this cooperation.
The new advisory committee will replace the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work (ACSHH) and the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and Other Extractive Industries. The Communication on a Community programme concerning safety, hygiene and health at work (1996-2000) stresses the need to streamline the operation of the two advisory committees.
The role of the new advisory committee is to assist the Commission in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of activities in the fields of safety and health at work. Together with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA), it will inform national administrations, trade unions and employers’ organisations of Community measures in order to facilitate cooperation and encourage initiatives on their part.
The tasks of the advisory committee are to:
- exchange views and experiences on existing or planned regulations;
- support the creation of a common approach to problems in the fields of safety and health at work, identify Community priorities and the measures necessary for implementing them;
- highlight for the Commission areas in which there is an apparent need for new knowledge and suitable training and research measures;
- define, within the Community action programmes:
- the criteria and aims for preventing accidents at work and health hazards within companies
- methods enabling companies and employees to evaluate and improve protection levels
- give an opinion on proposals for Community initiatives;
- give an opinion on the annual and the rolling four-year programme of OSHA.
Coverage and composition
The committee will cover both the public and private sectors. The composition of the committee should reflect the various economic sectors and the proportion of women and men in the working population.
The committee will act as a tripartite body. It will consist of three full members for each Member State, i.e. one representative for each of the national governments, trade unions and employers’ organisations. Two alternate members may be appointed for each full member.
The Committee will be chaired by the Commission’s Director-General for employment and social affairs. The Chair has no vote.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions will act as an observer for the new committee. A Foundation representative will report to these meetings on ongoing work (COM(2003) 346 final), thus ensuring the continuation of the established cooperation between the ACSHH and the Foundation.