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Introduction

National strategies are vital policy instruments to enhance the effectiveness of an OSH system by defining the key priorities and actions for improving workers’ health and safety.

The Commission called on the Member States to update and draw up their national OSH strategies in line with the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 - in cooperation with social partners - to ensure that the new measures are applied on the ground.

In Austria the largest authority for the monitoring of occupational safety and health is the Labour Inspectorate. The Labour Inspectorate monitors the protection of the lives and health of employees, adherence to the provisions on working hours and rest periods, the employment of children and young people, and the protection of pregnant women and nursing mothers. It is divided into 15 regional offices as well as a separate Labour Inspectorate for construction work.

Basic information on the national OSH strategy

The current Austrian Occupational Safety and Health Strategy covers the period 2021 – 2027 (Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie 2021-2027) and follows the OSH Strategy 2013-2020[1]

Former OSH Strategies are

  • Austrian version: Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie 2013-2020
  • English document: Occupational Safety and Health Strategy 2013 – 2020, Structures processes and tasks
  • Arbeitsschutzstrategie 2007-2012

Background and the perceived problem

The Austrian OSH-Strategy was established to improve networking between the various actors in Occupational Safety and Health. The strategy links national and regional stakeholders in the field of OSH such as Ministries, accident insurances, social partners as well as OSH representatives.

Main characteristics and objectives of the OSH-strategy (action plan)

The Austrian OSH Strategy 2021-2027 is based on the experiences of the past and strongly influenced by the European Strategic Framework the National Strategy 2021-2027.

 

Details of action plan

The ÖAS has three main objectives following the European Strategic Framework:

  1. Change: digital and green transformation.
  2. Prevention: minimizing occupational accidents – Vision Zero – and work related diseases especially those linked to chemical agents, as well as ergonomic and psychosocial risk.
  3. Preparation for future pandemics.

The strategy consists of several projects. The detailed planning of the projects is published on the website of the Austrian Labour Inspectorate[2]. The projects are published in a rolling plan, this means that they are continuously supplemented by new plans and projects. For each project working groups are individually formed (new project = new working group)[3].

Detailed description of the projects (first set)

Violence at work – objective I

Goal:

  • Orientation - Who (ministries, social partners, institutions) does what regarding the prevention of violence at work? What is relevant for occupational safety?
  • Networking and exchange – what is needed to be able to deal with the issue of violence at work
  • To provide guidelines - new guidelines for the social partners

Responsible body: ZAI

Project partners: AUVA, BAK, WKO, IV, Wien, ÖGB

Timeline: 2022 - 2024

Noise at work - objective II

Goals:

  • To raise awareness among stakeholders and workers exposed to noise: advice on noise reduction
  • To update methodological and measuring technology/knowledge for labour inspectors
  • To share information from stakeholders about noise at work: inspection – focus on workplaces with high noise

Responsible body: ZAI

Project partners: AUVA, WKO, IV

Timeline: 2021/2022

Digitalisation (in the frame of the EU-OSHA campaign) - objective I

Responsible body: ZAI

Project partners: AUVA, BAK, WKO, IV, ÖGB

Timeline: 2023

Road safety - objective II

Goals:

  • To increase awareness regarding road safety (driving for work)
  • To improve the knowledge for developing and implementing road safety concepts
  • To reduce driving related accidents (driving for work, inhouse-transport, commuting)
  • To disseminate prevention material through partners of the Austrian OSH Strategy

Responsible body: AUVA, ÖGB

Project partners: ZAI, WKO, IV

Timeline: 2022-2024

Occupational safety and health for start-ups/for beginners - objective II

Goal:

To support and advise companies in implementing occupational safety and health

Responsible body: ZAI

Project partners: BAK, WKO, IV, ÖGB

Timeline: continuously

Carcinogens - objective II

Responsible body: ZAI

Project partners: AUVA, BAK, WKO, IV, ÖGB

Timeline/start: 2023

Data on health and safety of workers - objective I and II

Goals:

  • To gain an overview: aggregated data related to work-related accidents and occupational diseases: data access and data quality.
  • To improve the access to data on work-related accidents and occupational diseases and to improve the insufficient data situation related to those data.
  • To set priorities in prevention based on data (prevention of workplace accidents and occupational diseases).

Responsible body: ZAI, AUVA

Project partners: BAK, WKO, IV, ÖGB

Timeline: 2022-2024

COVID 19: lessons learned - objective III

Goals:

  • To have a common view on the protection of workers related to the COVID19 crises.
  • To get an overview about best practices in other countries to respond to epidemic crises (especially in the area of Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
  • To be able to respond immediately and effective to future crises.
  • To be better prepared to similar future crises.

Responsible body: AUVA

Project partners: ZAI, BAK, WKO, IV, ÖGB

Time frame: 2023-2024

Stay fit – healthy through working life - objective II

Goals:

  • To improve the knowledge of a healthy lifestyle among young people.
  • To provide/disseminate leaflets on healthy lifestyle for young people through a strong participation of important stakeholders such as BAK, ÖGB, WKÖ, IV, vocational schools, etc.
  • To raise awareness on a healthy lifestyle among educational institution and apprentices.

Responsible body: ZAI

Project partners: BAK, ÖGB, WKO, IV

Timeline: 2022, 2023, 2024

 

Abbreviations:   

AUVA    Austrian Social Insurance for Occupational Risks,

WKO     Austrian Federal Economic Chamber,

IV           Federation of Austrian Industries,

BAK       the Federal Chamber of Labour,

ÖGB      Confederation of Austrian Trade Unions,

ZAI         Central Labour Inspectorate.

Actors and stakeholders

The OSH Advisory Board (Arbeitnehmerschutzbeirat - ASB) is a body consisting of representatives of the most important occupational safety institutions in Austria. It has the supervision of the technical committee (FA-ÖAS), which is responsible for the content and administrative coordination of the Austrian OSH Strategy (ÖAS). The technical committee develops joint strategies and defines responsibilities, working methods and roles. The results are presented to the OSH Advisory Board, adjusted if necessary and approved.

The Central Labour Inspectorate is responsible for controlling and coordinating the Austrian OSH Strategy (ÖAS).

The Central Labour Inspectorate published a list of the first set of projects including the responsible body and partners.

Further cooperation, especially beyond the members of the Expert Committee of the Austrian OSH strategy (FA-ÖAS) can be added at any time. The lead institution is responsible for the composition of the group.

Resources and time frame

Time frame: 2021 – 2027

The Austrian OSH strategy 2021 – 2027 does not include details about budget or staff information.

Evaluation

The previous Austrian OSH Strategy 2013-2020 was evaluated annually and adapted according to the results. An evaluation team was in charge of a process-oriented, impact-oriented and concept-oriented evaluation. The results led to a final overall evaluation of the ÖAS and to concrete proposals for a further development of the strategy.

The report is published on the website of the Austrian Labour Inspectorate[4].

Indicators for the years 2021 to 2027

No indicators can be identified. However, the strategy includes specifications for the evaluation of expected results (Workplace inspections, checklists, guidelines, brochures, surveys). The evaluation of the achievement of the intended effect should take place in the individual projects.

Relationship to EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027

The Austrian OSH Strategy (ÖAS) is guided by the objectives of the EU Strategic Framework; each project is assigned to one of the objectives in the EU Strategic Framework.

Key objective 1 of the EU Strategic Framework (Anticipating and managing change) → Change: digital and green transformation.

Key objective 2 of the EU Strategic Framework (Improving prevention of work-related diseases and accidents) → Prevention: minimizing occupational accidents – Vision Zero – and work-related diseases especially those linked to chemical agents, as well as ergonomic and psychosocial risk (already a focus of the Austrian OSH strategy 2013-2022)

Key objective 3 of the EU Strategic Framework (Increasing preparedness – responding rapidly to threats) → Preparation: for future pandemics.

Concrete projects encompass violence at the workplace, noise, digitalisation (in the frame of the EU-OSHA campaign), road safety, occupational safety and health for starters, carcinogens, COVID 19: lessons learned, collecting data on health and safety of workers, raising awareness of young workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

[1] Arbeitsinspektion, Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenstrategie 2013-2020. Available at: https://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/Zentrale_Dokumente/OeAS/strategiedokument_b_.pdf

[2] Arbeitsinspektion, Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie 2021-2027. Available at:  Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie (ÖAS) (arbeitsinspektion.gv.at)

[3] Arbeitsinspektion, Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie 2021-2027. Available at: https://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/Uebergreifendes/Arbeitsschutz_-_Allgemeines/OeAS_Projekte/Projektmanagent_OeAS.html

[4] Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenstrategie 2013-2020 – Abschlussbericht. Available at: https://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/Zentrale_Dokumente/OeAS/Abschlussbericht_OeAS_2013-2020.pdf

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