Campaign on Risk Assessment (2008-2009)

Campaign on Risk Assessment (2008-2009)

The overall aim of the Healthy Workplaces campaign is to promote an integrated management approach that takes into account the different steps of risk assessment.

The two-year risk assessment campaign seeks to convey clearly that risk assessment is a systematic examination of all aspects of the work undertaken to consider what can cause injury or harm, whether the hazards can be eliminated and, if not, what preventive or protective measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.

The campaign seeks to demystify the risk assessment process; risk assessment is not necessarily complicated, bureaucratic or a task only for experts.

It also promotes the idea of a participatory approach to risk assessment. It is essential for the workforce to be consulted and involved in the risk assessment to ensure that hazards are identified not only from principles of knowledge but also by knowledge of working conditions and patterns of adverse effects upon workers.

Risk assessment with its component of worker involvement is one of the key elements in building a sustainable prevention culture.

By providing clear and simple guidance, we seek to empower all employers to carry out an effective risk assessment, and to take appropriate action to eliminate or control risks.


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The main objectives of the European campaign on risk assessment are to:

  • Encourage stakeholders at all levels to actively participate in a decentralised pan-European campaign
  • Raise awareness of the legal responsibility and the practical need to assess risks in the workplace
  • Promote a simple stepwise approach to risk assessment (see Factsheet 80: “Risk Assessment – the key to Healthy Workplaces”)
  • Demystify risk assessment and the process of carrying out risk assessment
  • Encourage enterprises (particularly micro-firms and SMEs) to carry out their own risk assessment (in-house)
  • Promote the idea that risk assessment is inclusive; it is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace not solely the concern of employers (or experts), and benefits from a participatory approach to risk assessment
  • Support employers, workers' safety representatives, workers, practitioners, preventive services, policy makers and other stakeholders in improving risk assessment
  • Communicate that risk assessment is the first step towards systematic OSH management

Target audiences

The campaign is targeted primarily at the workplace level and those involved in the implementation of OSH measures:employers, trade unions, workers, safety representatives, OSH practitioners, OSH prevention and insurance services, and others providing assistance and information at workplace level.

SMEs and in particular micro-firms are a key target group.

Intermediaries are an important secondary audience including: policy makers (European and national), social partners (employer associations, worker/professional federations), Focal Points and their networks, European institutions and their networks, and NGOs.


Risk assessment is not an objective in itself but a powerful tool for identifying the need for preventive measures.


It is not just a matter of checking off a list of recognised hazards; it has to take into account the less visible ones, and the interactions between different factors.


Everybody has an interest in an evaluation of the risks and corrective measures to be put in place, and everyone in the workplace has a valuable contribution to make; assessing OSH risks is in the interest of both companies and their workers. It is a partnership approach and should be carried out with the active involvement of the whole workforce; workers have to be involved and consulted in the risk assessment process.

The European prevention approach:

  • Avoid risks
  • Evaluate risks which can not be avoided
  • Combat the risks at source
  • Adapt the work to the individual
  • Adapt to technical progress
  • Replace the dangerous by the non-dangerous or less dangerous
  • Develop a coherent overall prevention policy
  • Give collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures
  • Give appropriate instructions, information and training to workers