“Lighten the Load: lifelong learning for healthier workplaces”- Roundtable

The Lifelong Learning (LLL) Week 2021 was carried out online, from November 29th to December 03rd, 2021. Organised by the LLLP, with support from the Lifelong Learning Interest Group of the European Parliament and other European Parliament political groups, this 11th edition of the event was dedicated to the topic “The changing nature of evaluation in education and its impact on learners’ wellbeing”.

EfVET organised a roundtable session dedicated to the topic “Lighten the Load: lifelong learning for healthier workplaces” on December 02nd, with contributions from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the European Parliament.

Moderated by Ms.Brenda O’Brien (EU-OSHA Brussels Liaison Officer) and hosted by Marianne Vind (Member of the European Parliament), this session focused on EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces  Campaign Lighten the Load, which involves more than 15 countries and provides an ideal opportunity for Vocational Education and Training (VET) and occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals across Europe to create new partnerships and synergies around the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and the promotion of wellbeing for the current and future workforce.

How to make workplace a safer and healthier place? How to reduce health hazards? The aim of this campaign is to address these issues towards reducing workplace health hazards.

The roundtable started with a short introduction to the session made by Ms. O’Brien followed by a welcoming message to all its participants made by Mr. Jon Harding, LLLP Vice President and EfVET representative in the United Kingdom.

MEP Marianne Vind (Member of the European Parliament for Denmark) was the speaker who followed. Being an advocate of the issues connected to safe workplaces Ms. Vind’s intervention focused on the EU ambitions to tackle MSD issues and on the development of a specific directive to tackle occupational hazards, to be presented to the Commission, based on data provided by EU-OSHA. Ms. Vind pointed out that also vocational education and lifelong learning are crucial for this matter as they are key when it comes to establishing the basis for workers’ awareness about the issues related to MSDs and their prevention. Moreover, according to Ms. Vind, it is important that companies all over Europe take responsibility in securing safe workplaces.

The connection between lifelong learning and occupational safety and health (OSH) would have impact on MSDs prevention. Ms Arja Flinkman (EfVET Vice President) shared her experience about this connection and how the welfare technology learning environment used in her college, in Finland, helps securing healthy workplaces. According to Ms. Flinkman, it aims at elderly and disabled people who stay at home, promoting their quality of life by assisting them in their daily activities. Furthermore, this technology also assists social and healthcare workers by helping them to lift people up the stairs or otherwise help mobility, for example. Thus, the welfare technology learning environment trains future workers on those fields and helps them securing their muscular skeleton health throughout their careers.

Mr Luís Costa, the Executive Director of the National Association of Vocational Education and Training Schools (ANESPO) and member of EfVET Steering Committee, together with Emilia Malo (EU-OSHA national focal point, in Portugal) focused their intervention on the implementation of OSHVET project, from the Portuguese perspective.

The roundtable session was concluded by Ms. O’Brien with a family photo.

For accessing to the entire “Lighten the Load: lifelong learning for healthier workplaces” roundtable session, please access to its recording, here.

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