Dalli calls for ‘specific approaches’ to improve vulnerable workers’ conditions

Social dialogue minister Helena Dalli has called for 'collective, yet specific approaches' to improve the health and safety of vulnerable workers

Helena Dalli said that significant changes in today’s society necessitated the new approaches (File photo)
Helena Dalli said that significant changes in today’s society necessitated the new approaches (File photo)

Social dialogue minister Helena Dalli has called for “collective, yet specific approaches” to improve the health and safety of vulnerable workers, including the aging workforce and the growing number of migrant workers.

Addressing a conference on EU-wide occupational health and safety, centred around the theme of “safeguarding vulnerable groups”, Dalli said that significant changes in today’s society necessitated the new approaches.

The minister echoed a recent statement by the Commission, which stressed the need for risk management measures, focusing on specific risks faced by different working groups, as well as demanded the design of specific preventive and protective measures according to the requirements of those groups.

She emphasised the need for a collective approach in creating sustainable employment conditions which embrace the principles of prevention.

“The Presidency of the Council of the EU provides a unique platform from which we can promote and raise awareness on the importance of safeguarding vulnerable groups,” she added.

These groups included men and women, young and older workers, and migrants and disabled persons.

On her part, Christa Sedlatschek , director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), noted that the EU faced an ageing workforce and that many countries were raising retirement ages, adding that good practices can protect businesses.

“By implementing good practices in age management, employers can protect their workers’ health and safeguard the future of their businesses,” she said.

Referring to the Healthy Work Places Good Practice awards, for which the conference served as a backdrop, Sedlatschek said that the aim of the competition was to engage relevant stakeholders, provide examples of successful interventions and create a prevention culture across Europe.

The awards showcased successful interventions by European organisations to make their workplaces safer and healthier for workers of all ages.

Occupational Health and Safety Authority chairperson Deo Debattista said that everyone has a legal as well as a moral obligation to safeguard vulnerable groups, adding that despite great improvements throughout Europe, much more needs to be done.

“The improvements recorded in the level of occupational health and safety was largely the result of a collective effort. We all have an important role in the fight against workplace accidents and diseases. It is only through a collective effort that we can achieve safer and healthier workplaces,” he said.

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