20 March 2008
In november 2004 FIEC and its social partner association the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) made a commitment to encourage their member organisations to lobby national education ministers for health and safety training at all levels. In parallel, FIEC and EFBWW committed to be partners in a Leonardo da Vinci (EU funded training programmes) project titled “European Network Education and Training in Occupational Safety and Health” (ENETOSH), aimed at establishing a European network of experts in the field of education and training in occupational safety and health.
The aim of this project, established in 2005, is to bring together occupational safety and health and education experts in Europe, and to create a communication platform to allow them to meet and exchange knowledge, experiences and examples of good practice in health and safety education. The idea behind this is to improve the integration of health and safety at all levels of education, including vocational training and university education.
At the moment, 25 partner institutions from 13 European countries work together in the network. The coordination lies with the BG-Institute Work and Health (BGAG) in Dresden. Apart from the European-wide activities national activities are increasing as well.
National ENETOSH networks are being formed, for example, in Poland, Austria and Germany. The network's existence has been guaranteed beyond the project's expiry date in September 2009.
The network has two main tasks for the time being. First, collecting and analysing good practice examples, and second the development of standards for the qualification of instructors and trainers in health and safety.
So far, over 200 good practice examples of education and training in health and safety have been collected and are available on the project website (www.enetosh.net).
The information on the website places particular emphasis on innovative methods of teaching and learning for the integration of health and safety into education and training. The better health and safety are integrated into the different levels and areas of education, the more will health and safety be considered in working life.
According to European statistics, the incidence rate of accidents at work is about +50% higher among those aged 18 to 24 years old than in any other age category (as regards non-fatal accidents at work). It is crucial that young people are already aware of accident risks, when they enter the world of work. This is the reason why the ENETOSH-project covers all levels of education – from kindergarten, primary and secondary school, to university and continuing vocational education – and to address the following questions:
• how can children from an early age onwards be made aware of everyday risks as well as of particular risks at work?
• which methods will ensure adolescents develop an attitude of responsible behaviour towards health and safety matters?
• how can health and safety be integrated into the education of junior executives?
• how can the attitude of adults towards health and safety behaviour be effectively changed?
Taking into account the situation relative to young people, FIEC and EFBWW also adopted a joint statement in March 2005 aimed at formalising their support in favour of the European Youth Pact (adopted by the Heads of State and Government in Spring 2005). This proposes solutions for improving the education, training and vocational integration of young Europeans.
Through their joint statement, the Social Partners agreed to provide adequate information to young people about Health and Safety risks in the construction sector. They have also supported the 2006 European campaign of the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, focusing on young people – the “Safe Start” campaign.
The aim of the campaign was to ensure that risk awareness and risk prevention are promoted in enterprises, schools and colleges and that young people make a safe and healthy start to their working lives. FIEC member federations have been invited to review their health and safety policies and risk assessment of young people, to organise appropriate health and safety events for young workers in the sector, to participate in the awareness raising activities organised by the Agency and to disseminate information and good practices.
It is in the interest of the industry to ensure that risk awareness and risk prevention are promoted in enterprises, schools and colleges and that young people make a safe and healthy start to their working lives. All the initiatives above need to be considered in this regard.