Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work


    Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work

    The Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the Introduction of Measures to Encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health of Workers at Work (‘the Framework Directive’) aims to introduce measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work. The Framework Directive contains principles concerning the prevention of risks, the protection of safety and health, the assessment of risks, the elimination of risks and accident factors, the informing, consultation and balanced participation and training of workers and their representatives. 

    Last Updated: July 30, 2019

  • Requirements

    The Framework Directive applies to both private and public sectors, with the exception of certain public service activities, such as the armed forces or the police. 

    Under Article 5 of the Framework Directive, the employer has a duty to ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to the work. In line with Article 6, the employer is under an obligation take the measures necessary for the safety and health protection of workers, including prevention of occupational risks and provision of information and training, as well as provision of the necessary organisation and means.  

    The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work issued guidance on the Framework Directive (‘the Guidance’). The Guidance contains the following information in relation to risk-related requirements under the Framework Directive:  

    The general principles of prevention listed in the directive are the following: 

    • avoiding risks; 
    • evaluating the risks; 
    • combating the risks at source; 
    • adapting the work to the individual; 
    • adapting to technical progress; 
    • replacing the dangerous by the non- or the less dangerous; 
    • developing a coherent overall prevention policy; 
    • prioritising collective protective measures (over individual protective measures); and 
    • giving appropriate instructions to the workers. 


    The employer shall: 

    • evaluate all the risks to the safety and health of workers, inter alia in the choice of work equipment, the chemical substances or preparations used, and the fitting-out of work places;   
    • implement measures which assure an improvement in the level of protection afforded to workers and are integrated into all the activities of the undertaking and/or establishment at all hierarchical levels; 
    • take into consideration the worker’s capabilities as regards health and safety when he entrusts tasks to workers;   
    • consult workers on introduction of new technologies;
      designate worker(s) to carry out activities related to the protection and prevention of occupational risks; 
    • take the necessary measures for first aid, fire-fighting, evacuation of workers and action required in the event of serious and imminent danger; 
    • keep a list of occupational accidents and draw up and draw up, for the responsible authorities reports on occupational accidents suffered by his workers; 
    • inform and consult workers and allow them to take part in discussions on all questions relating to safety and health at work; and 
    • ensure that each worker receives adequate safety and health training.’

    In addition, the European Commission issued Guidance on Risk Assessment at Work, which elaborates on the risk assessment requirements under the Framework Directive. 

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