Safety culture to prevent occupational accidents
Accidents at work continue to result in high rates of fatal and serious injuries, hospitalisation, work absence, disability and premature retirement. An estimated 6.9 million people in the EU27 had one or more accidents at work in 2007, 5,580 of which were fatal. There is therefore a need for new evidence-based knowledge about the most effective initiatives for preventing accidents at work, particularly among vulnerable persons such as young workers, migrant workers and in small and medium sized enterprises. Heightening of ‘safety culture’ in European enterprises and organisations can have a positive impact on occupational safety and health awareness, and on how they are perceived and dealt with. Diagnostic tools such as the Safety Climate Tool and the Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire are an important contribution to promoting a strong safety culture in enterprises. In addition, adoption of a ‘Zero accident vision’ has shown to be an ethically sustainable commitment strategy based on the idea that all accidents at work are preventable. Research in these areas should contribute to a better understanding of more tangible conditions that contribute to establishing a positive safety culture in enterprises, to develop comprehensive instruments for the assessment of safety culture and through the expansion of a ‘Zero accident vision’ in the European Member States.
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