The European strategic framework for improving Safety and Health training in the sector is going to be developed by Fundación Laboral

This European Commission tender to Fundación Laboral is a complement to the “Strategic Approach to Professional Skills in the Construction Industry”: the Construction Blueprint project.

One of the areas listed in the Preamble to the Constitution of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1919 was “Protection of the worker from sickness or injury resulting from his work”, what we now call ‘Safety and Health’. But it was not until 1981 that Convention 155 on Occupational Health and Safety was signed. Subsequently, the most significant directive on risk prevention at European level, 89/391/EEC, on the implementation of measures to encourage improvements in the Health and Safety of workers at work, which contains the general legal framework within which Community prevention policy operates, would be adopted.

Given the importance of this discipline, the Fundación Laboral de la Construcción has been selected to carry out the project of the “Strategic approach for the improvement of training in Health and Safety in the construction industry” (called Health and Safety Blueprint), a necessary complement that will form part of the “Strategic approach on professional competences in the construction industry” (Construction Blueprint project), which is also led by the joint entity.

This tender from the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (Easme), which has been running since December 2018 with a budget of almost 800,000 euros, will be completed in 18 months and involves the twelve countries involved in Construction Blueprint: Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal.

A new environment, with new challenges

In addition to the structural barriers faced by industry, such as the ageing of the workforce, the lack of attractiveness of the sector or the mismatch between training and the skills demanded by the market, there is the emergence of new specialised skills, particularly the so-called ‘green skills’, which are not covered by the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. This scenario makes it essential to strengthen the human capital of the construction industry with specialized training and new skills for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

This evolution must go hand in hand with the updating of the current risks related to the ‘circular economy’, even anticipating those futures that are not yet recognised and tackling them in a comprehensive manner. Hence, the need to also analyse and update Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) competencies related to ‘green building’, in order to prevent and minimise emerging risks through training and information for workers in the sector.

All these aspects are what H&S Blueprint faces, through which a complete and updated training framework will be developed to cover these emerging requirements in Health and Safety, energy efficiency and biomaterials in the construction industry, especially those referring to new building materials and insulation, technology and individual processes.

The results committed in this tender are:

  • A needs study for the revision or creation of occupational profiles.
  • A training proposal in OSH adapted to the new needs of ‘green professional profiles’.
  • The identification of good practices at regional, national and European level.
  • And the creation of a more positive image of the sector, which proactively addresses OSH issues.
Boosting innovative skills

In addition, the Foundation also participates as a partner in another recent project, led by the Ente per la Formazione e l’addestramento professionale nell’edilizia (Formedil), from Italy, called Icaro, which addresses the promotion of innovative qualifications through technological and organisational innovation in the construction sector.