Occupational health and safety 

Occupational health and safety (OH&S) plays an important role in European legislation and is closely linked with standardization. In particular those Technical Committees which develop product standards with OH&S aspects in support of EU directives for products like machinery, pressure equipment or personal protective equipment.  OH&S also concerns cross-sectorial issues dealt with in TCs which prepare standards with hazard-oriented generic functions e.g. in the field of noise, vibration, ergonomics or hazardous substances.

BT approved the ‘CEN Strategic Advisory Board for Occupational Health and Safety (CEN SAB OH&S) Strategy 2020’ as presented in Annex to BT N 11087. Please find it attached.

CEN and CENELEC Contact person Jennifer Ogbonna

News and events

‘Strategic Advisory Board for Occupational Health and Safety’ – next meeting on 26-27 September 2018 (lunch to lunch meeting), at ETUI offices, Boulevard du Roi Albert II, Brussels.

Technical bodies and activities

OHS is relevant to any technical body that develops standards for a product or service that is used in the work environment, as the product and service could have a potential impact on OHS. OHS is therefore applicable to many CEN - CENELEC sectors and industries. The below-mentioned list is therefore indicative and might not be exhaustive.

Sector Forum

The nature of OH&S requires a permanent body to ensure the implementation of a long term CEN Strategy on OH&S. Therefore, the CEN Strategic Advisory Board for Occupational Health and Safety (SAB OH&S) was created in July 2008 following a proposal from the former BT/WG 168 OH&S.
The objective of this Strategic Advisory Board is to give advice to all technical committees on OH&S-related aspects and to coordinate all relevant activities within CEN.
The Chairman of the SAB OH&S is Mr Dirk Watermann, CEN Sector Rapporteur OH&S.

The Secretariat is provided by Ms Shanti Conn, BSI

European legislation and mandates

Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (Official Journal C 80 of 10 March 2001) directly focuses on social security and on health and safety aspects at the workplace and sets out the frame for the development of European Directives in this field. Directives developed under article 153 contain minimum requirements, which have to be adopted by the member states. However, these Directives “shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent protective measures compatible with this Treaty”.

In the scope of article 153, the improvement of occupational health and safety lies primarily with the Member States. However, standardisation is possible and has shown good results e.g. in the following fields: Terms and definitions, Measurement and planning of measurement, Testing and sampling procedures, Statistical methods and data exchange, Safety signals and warning signs, Selection of equipment.

Useful links and documents

The information here does not claim to be exhaustive, but is intended as initial guidance for OH&S professionals.

OH&S related organizations (European/International)

The following European and international organizations are active in the field of OH&S.

Besides, a number of tools have been developed to assist OH&S professionals and standardisers in their work.  Some of these may have been developed from a particular national viewpoint and legal framework but could still be valuable in other situations.

Search function databases

Networks of professionals or sectoral organisations working on accidents and trauma at work

  • WorkingonSafety.net is supported by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and attempts to bring accident prevention experts together and to facilitate exchange of information and experience between different countries and sectors. It consists of an Internet platform including a who's who and a bi-annual conference;
  • Safer by Design is a project from the quarrying industry, with a compilation of best practices in that sector and a database of incidents alerts.

OHS data for Europe


IEC Guide 120