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Occupational safety and health prevention services/experts in Europe


Published by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), this Discussion Paper contributes to the current discourse on the role of prevention services in supporting substantive compliance with occupational safety and health (OSH) standards.


It reviews the role of OSH professional practice in EU workplaces in the 21st century. This is done in relation to the wider discourse on the role of professional help in achieving substantive compliance, thus helping to also identify the limits of current knowledge and the key questions for future policy and research.


The Paper combines a review of sources of qualitative and quantitative data on prevention services in the EU and elsewhere, drawn from the recently published ‘Improving compliance with occupational safety and health regulations: an overarching review’ (EU-OSHA), with findings from a secondary analysis of data on the use of prevention services gathered by the Third European Survey on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER 3) and a search of additional literature published in the 24 months since the original review was undertaken. It discusses:

  • The role played by preventive services in the context of a changing world of work and the effects of its reorganisation and restructuring.

  • Implications of their marketisation for provision and access (including the influence of market demands, structures and professional capacities).

  • Changes in the nature of OSH professions, their orientations and practice, and how these might impact on the provision, quality and delivery of support for securing substantive compliance with OSH requirements in the EU.

In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the discourse on the role of professional practice in support of securing substantive compliance with standards of good practice on OSH in EU workplaces in the 21st century.


EU-OSHA February 2023



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