New tools to improve safety in the workplace

Better occupational safety and health (OSH) in the manufacturing industry can save lives and render the sector more competitive. An EU-funded project developed a new set of tools to further these aims.

Europe faces an urgent need to improve OSH across the bloc, with almost 160 000 workers dying from occupational diseases every year and 6 000 lives being lost due to work-related accidents. The project IMOSHION (Improving occupational safety & health in European SMEs with help of simulation and virtual reality) facilitated the application of OSH regulations in European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through inexpensive easy-to-use tools for OSH issues in manufacturing sectors.

Generally, SMEs must follow the 23 EU-based guidelines on OSH, which is costly and time consuming, particularly when compiling the required risk inventory. In response, the project raised awareness of OSH issues and helped SMEs apply OSH through training, operation, planning and workplace design.

More specifically, IMOSHION improved access to OSH-related information and created an OSH knowledge and learning management system. Through its new workplace simulation tool, it helped SMEs improve their reaction to critical OSH issues, raising user awareness as well on specific issues related to production and maintenance. Newly developed work station and workplace planning tools helps users design OSH sound work environments.

The resulting toolkit, which is provided in English, German and Spanish, includes many innovative and engaging products such as a serious game to promote safety and an assessment tool to identify exposure to risk and evaluate it. Noteworthy as well is the tool to manage preventative measures and analyse related costs and benefits, which could ultimately help the manufacturing industry save considerably on costs.

Apart from the manufacturing sector, policymakers, governments and OSH service providers can benefit from the technology. The project has delivered tools that could be exploited and commercialised rapidly, having also disseminated the results to SME associations and key partners. The long-term benefits include better safety in the workplace, many lives being saved and more efficient manufacturing due to fewer accidents.

last modification: 2016-02-18

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