European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work was established in 1994 and is based in Bilbao, Spain. It is a European body charged with the task of assisting the European Commission, the Member States and social partner organisations across Europe regarding policy on occupational health and safety in the Member States. Its primary task is to collect and disseminate technical, scientific and economic information (Council Regulation establishing a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, EC 2062/94 of 18 July 1994; amended by Council Regulation EC 1643/95 of 29 June 1995).
For example, the agency includes on its website details of Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs), the values set by national authorities or scientific institutions as limits for concentrations of hazardous compounds in workplace air, and provides a detailed guide to risk assessment when working with dangerous substances.
To achieve its objectives, the agency has set up in each Member State a ‘national focal point’, often a national independent agency or a unit in the national ministry of labour responsible for this area of policy, which is to be responsible for gathering the information and, through the Bilbao Agency, disseminating it among the Member States and to the EU institutions. It has established and coordinates a network linking national, Community and international organisations in the field of occupational health and safety. The agency focuses its work programme on developing its information services in line with the priorities set out in the Community strategy for health and safety.