All too often, working in EFBWW sectors is still hazardous and arduous, with workers exposed to dangerous substances and strenuous situations. Materials and equipment are often not ergonomic and too heavy, working conditions are frequently physically onerous and psychosocial risks are a growing concern. All this results in a comparably high incidence of occupational diseases and accidents and means many workers are unable to work up to the normal retirement age. The EFBWW is intent on continuously improving working conditions and defends existing early retirement schemes for those unable to work until the statutory retirement age.
Our main priorities involve tackling hazardous substances and improving workplace ergonomics (including equipment). We endeavour to champion advanced work organisation and combat psychosocial risks at work. We are also continuing to lobby for an improved European legal framework on occupational health and safety (OHS) and cooperate with European social partners on OHS-related issues. One way we do this is by reaching agreement on joint statements, supporting the proper implementation of the EU legislative framework and drawing up European agreements wherever possible.
Special attention needs to be paid to the risk-assessment and documentation in the use of hazardous substances and dangerous working methods. Female workers need special protection as well as a form of work organisation whose time, place and manner takes account of gender-specific health and safety requirements.
The introduction of new technologies and novel production methods must go hand in hand with an impact assessment on working conditions right from the introduction of any innovative processes or restructuring. To this end, we will take OHS issues on board in EFBWW structures, step up our cooperation with other trade union federations at European and international level and also with other EU and national institutions dealing with working conditions.