The need to improve working conditions is a collective concern, prompted by both humanitarian and economic considerations. Create more jobs and of better quality is one of the main objectives of the EU social policy. A safe and healthy working environment is an essential element of the quality of work.
The EU action in health and safety at work has its legal basis in Article 153 of the EU Treaty. Community action is not limited to legislation. The Commission has widened the scope of its activities, in cooperation with the European Agency for health and safety at work and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, in favour of information, guidance and promotion of a healthy working environment by paying particular attention to small and medium-size enterprises. The Commission communication "Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work outlines the options for further action to make workplaces across Europe safer and healthier.
The Regulation EC No 1338/2008 of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 December 2008 sets the legal basis for the development of statistics in the field of public health and on health and safety at work.
As for all Eurostat activities, work is carried out within the European Statistical System (ESS). In the area of health and safety at work statistics, main partners in the Member States and associated countries are National Statistical Offices, Social Security Institutions (Worker's Compensation or similar) and Ministries of Labour Affairs.