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EU-OSHA - European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

How did the establishment of the EU OSHA come about?

In a resolution adopted on 21 December 1987, the European Council called on the Commission to promote European cooperation in the field of safety, hygiene and health at work and to intensify the exchange of relevant information. By Regulation (EC) No 2062/94 of 18 July 1994, as amended by EC Regulation No 1643/95 of 29 June 1995, the Council, acting on a proposal from the Commission, decided to establish a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. It was established in Bilbao, Spain.

What are the objectives?

The aim of the Agency is to provide all the relevant scientific, technical, scientific and economic information in the field of health and safety at the workplace to the EU, Member States, the companies and occupational safety and health actors. Together with governments, employee representatives as well as small and large companies, the EU OSHA is committed to promoting occupational safety and health across Europe. In the meantime, 38 Focal Points have been set up to organise the exchange - in addition to the 28 Member States, the states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as well as candidate and potential candidate countries are represented.

What are the tasks?

Through the collection, analysis and dissemination of information on safety and health at work in Europe and through the organisation of pan-European campaigns to raise awareness, workplaces in Europe will be healthier and more productive. An important approach here is Prevention at work in the field of safety and health at work. In particular, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are supported in assessing hazards in the workplace and exchanging their knowledge and good practical solutions.
In the field of research, the agency identifies and assesses new and emerging risks at the workplace. It also introduces its subjects to other policy areas, such as education, public health and research, and thus promotes an interdisciplinary approach to topics relevant to work protection.

The Agency has, among other things, undertaken the following tasks:

  • to collect relevant information on safety and health at work,
  • to provide relevant information to the European Commission in order to fulfil its task of identifying, elaborating and evaluating measures and legislation on health and safety at work,
  • to organise conferences and seminars,
  • to promote and support cooperation and information exchange between EU Member States,
  • to disseminate validated information, e.g. through an Internet network as well as publications and campaigns,
  • to contribute to the development of future Community action programmes.

The information is provided to the following target groups:

  • social partners and their representatives as well as stakeholders in the field of occupational safety and health,
  • governments and government agencies,
  • the European Commission and European institutions,
  • research institutes and scientists.

Furthermore, the Agency has to fulfil tasks at European level:

  • Supply of the Member States and the European Commission with important statistics and other information necessary for the definition of priority areas of activity.
  • Cooperation with other EU bodies (e.g. the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions), as well as with international organisations and States, to avoid duplication and maximise the knowledge base.

How is the agency managed?

The EU OSHA founding regulation stipulates that the Agency is managed by a Director who is appointed by the Governing Board for a five-year term on a proposal from the Commission. The director can be re-appointed.

Dr med Christa Sedlatschek was appointed Director in 2011 and confirmed in 2016 for another five years.

Dr med Christa Sedlatschek studied medicine at the University of Vienna and is a specialist in occupational medicine. As Director, she is the official representative of the Agency. She is responsible for the management and daily operation of the Agency, including all financial, administrative and personnel matters. The Director is accountable to the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors determines the objectives and strategies and sets priorities for areas for which further information or activities are required. It appoints the Director and adopts the Agency's annual management plan, work programme, annual report and budget. The Governing Body is composed of representatives of the governments, employers and employees of EU Member States, representatives of the European Commission and observers. The presidency of the Board of Directors rotates annually between the three stakeholder groups.

The Management Board acts as a steering group and monitors the work performance of the Agency. It meets four times a year and consists of eleven members of the Management Board.

Current main working areas of the EU-OSHA

The Multi-annual Strategic Programme (MSP) of the EU-OSHA has been developed in accordance with the objectives set in the EU Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work (2014-2020) and the Europe 2020 Strategy for Intelligent, Sustainable and Integrative Growth.

The MSP is valid for the years 2014-2020. It builds on the experience gained from previous programmes and is based on an analysis of the upcoming challenges and policy priorities at European level. The work of the EU OSHA is fundamentally based on multiannual programmes as well as on annual management plans drawn up in accordance with Article 10 of the Agency's Founding Regulation and approved by the Governing Board. For quality assurance purposes, the programmes are evaluated externally after completion.

The strategy programme has six priority areas, each with clearly defined priorities, and serves as the basis for the annual work programmes.

EU-OSHA Priority areas and activities EU-OSHA Priority areas and activities (Larger version opens in new window)

Priority areas:

  1. Facts and figures: collection of data and dissemination of information, for example ESENER;
  2. Tools for OSH-Management: development of health and safety at work tools, such as the interactive online Risk assessment tool (OiRA);
  3. Networking and enterprise communications: networking (at strategic and operational level) and communication policy;
  4. Networking knowledge: activities in knowledge networks, primarily by building the online encyclopedia OSHwiki;
  5. Raising Awareness: raising Awareness, especially through campaigns for healthy jobs;
  6. Anticipating changes: anticipating change as well as new and emerging risks through forecasting activities (literature evaluations, surveys, writing scenarios).

Contact EU-OSHA

Head office in Bilbao
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
12 Santiago de Compostela (Edificio Miribilla), 5th Floor
E-48003 Bilbao, Spain

Phone +34 944-358-400
Fax +34 944-358-401

Liaison office in Brussels
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Square de Meeûs 38/40
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

Phone +32 2 401 68 59
Fax +32 2 401 68 68