European Commission to update workplace health & safety rules

The working world is changing fast, and the European Commission is working to keep up. So what will be changing, and why should you be taking notice?

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2021
2 min read

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has turned the employment landscape on its head. More and more of us are swapping ironed uniforms and polished shoes for a pair of fluffy slippers and suspiciously stained t-shirts. We’ve entered the work from home era, and the trend looks set to continue.

This movement towards a more digital economy has spurred the European Commission to update worker safety rules. They feel a fresh perspective is needed to protect the health of nearly 170 million EU workers between 2021 and 2027.

A whole new world

The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, but none more so than how we work.

For instance, almost 40% of employees have made a full-time move to remote work since it began. These same employees also saw their social contacts dwindle and their use of IT equipment soar.

Speaking about the impact the pandemic has had on the workplace, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said: "For many, the concept of a traditional workplace is disappearing fast. While that brings opportunities, it also brings challenges and risks – health, psychological and social."

So, what health & safety measures are changing?

Well, they haven’t changed yet, but we can tell you what issues the Commission has in its scopes. It’ll be reviewing a range of workplace safety issues like:

  • Emergency exits
  • Ventilation
  • Safe use of workstations and screens

It looks like the Commission foresee a strong green economy too. They aim to introduce limits on exposure to insulator asbestos, and seek to limit the use of lead and cobalt in renewable energy technology and battery production.

Mental health is on the agenda

Before the pandemic, the Commission was monitoring mental health problems in the EU. Their findings estimate that a staggering 84 million EU citizens suffer from mental health problems. What’s more, they reckon stress contributes to around half of all lost working days. Yikes.

So, they’ve also committed to providing recommendations on mental health at work before the end of 2022.

Why it pays to invest in health & safety

You might think health & safety is one of those boring, check-it-off-the-list type business things. But as a business owner, you’d be missing a trick by ignoring the power of proper health & safety protocol.

The Commission found that work-related accidents and illnesses cost the EU economy over 3.3% of GPD per year.

The Commission also estimates that for every euro invested in occupational health & safety, the return for businesses is as much as 100%. Why? Well, staff take less sick leave when they receive proper investment.

How can I make sure my business is compliant?

New laws can be confusing, especially when they’re all wrapped up in legal jargon. Luckily, we’ve got just the solution.

BrightSafe is an incredibly user-friendly health & safety software packed full of useful resources. It’s stocked full of absolute gems, like risk assessment templates, COVID risk assessments, and an online Responsibilities Navigator. This last one helps you identify risks, delegate tasks, and mark them complete when they’re done.

The best part is, it’s all online and in one place. Plus, it’s accessible wherever you are, from your computer or through the mobile app.

And if you’ve ever got a health & safety query, we've got that covered too. BrightSafe comes with a free 24/7 advice line with friendly professionals on the other end. They’ll break down all that legal mumbo jumbo into language you can actually understand.

Call us on 1800 279 841 today to book a free demo, or just to have a chat about what else BrightSafe can do for your business.


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