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Europe's social partners first to sign up to 'Building in Safety' campaign charter

July 2004
Sheila Pantry OBE

Europe's social partners in the construction industry, the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and the Federation of European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), representing over 80 unions and federations across the continent, have signed the new 'Building in Safety' campaign charter, launched by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

The campaign charter, which is part of the Agency's 2004 European Week on Safety and Health at Work (18-22 October 2004), aimed this year at construction work, commits signatories to contribute to the campaign and to improve safety and health standards in the sector via training, information and other initiatives. In return for their commitment, signatories will receive a 'building in safety' certificate from the Agency.

Both European Social Partners - FIEC and the EFBWW - were the first to sign the charter at the official launch of the Agency's European Week in Dublin on 30 April 2004. The FIEC currently represents 32 national federation members in 25 countries, while the EFBWW has 50 affiliated unions in 17 countries, representing over 2 million workers.

Peter Andrews, the FIEC Vice President responsible for social affairs says: "For us, the key objective is to ensure that this campaign reaches the widest possible audience. This new charter is an important means of increasing individual commitment to health and safety initiatives on-site and we see this as a continued part of our efforts to achieve real progress across the European construction industry".

Harrie Beijen, General Secretary of the EFBWW, comments: "The life and health of every construction worker can be better protected by joint efforts of all parties concerned; governments, clients, architects, engineers, contractors and workers. We can learn from one another and set specific benchmarks for specific problems. If this European campaign can encourage this then we have already won a lot".

"Having FIEC and EFBWW as the first signatories to our campaign charter not only demonstrates their strong commitment to raising safety and health standards in construction but will also encourage others to follow their lead," adds Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Director of the Agency. "Our common goal is to reduce the appalling human and economic costs of occupational accidents and ill-health in construction, so we need everyone with a stake in the industry, from building firms to architects and engineers, to get involved and to sign up."

To sign the online charter, and for further information about the Agency's 2004 European Week, visit: https://www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en/european-week-safety-and-health-work. Registration takes just five minutes. The web site also provides information on how to improve safety and health standards, including good practice examples and related links.

The European Week for Safety and Health at Work which will take place on 18-22 October 2004 is an information campaign designed to raise awareness and promote activities to make Europe a safe and healthy place to work. It is coordinated by the European Agency and will be run in the Member States, accession, EFTA and candidate countries. The Week is aimed at the workplace and all safety and health institutions and organisations, trade unions, companies, managers, employees and safety representatives are invited to take part and organise their own activities. These can include special audits and risk assessment activities in the workplace, organising training, distributing information material, launching a new workplace policy, suggestion schemes, encouraging participation of employees and their representatives or linking-up with other organisations, businesses or sub contractors to carry out activities in partnership. The slogan of EW2004 is 'Building in Safety'.

Further information:
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao, Spain | email: information@osha.eu.int | fax: +34 94 479 4383.
FIEC: Email: info@fiec.org | www.fiec.org
EFBWW: Email: info@efbh.be | www.efbww.org


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And for those working in the Construction Industry Sector we hope you are planning to raise standards of OSH on your site during the European 2004 Year of Construction Safety.

Have a zero accident and incident-free year in 2004 in your workplace!