Health, safety and wellbeing at the workplace in the transportation and storage sector
On the 13th of November 2023, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) published the results of a study on ‘Transportation and storage activities - Evidence from the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER)’, which was carried out by Panteia and IKEI Research & Consultancy.
The transportation and storage sector covers a wide range of different industries such as the transport of cargo and passengers, tourism transport, postal and courier services, warehousing, and goods storage, all of which play a fundamental role within the European Union (EU) economy. The sector represents around 5.3% of the total number of persons employed in Europe, with more than half of these being employed in land transport. Due to the nature of this sector, there is a wide variety of jobs and tasks to be performed. It is a male dominated sector that has seen vast labour shortages in recent years (which also has been exacerbated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic).
The report indicates that due to the wide range of activities carried out across the various subsectors, the main occupational safety and health (OSH) risks in the transportation and storage sector are varied. Workers in the transportation and storage sector are particularly affected by prolonged sitting, repetitive hand or arm movements, risk of accidents with machines, and lifting or moving heavy loads. Transportation and storage sector workers are also confronted with important psychosocial risks, such as the need to deal with difficult customers, time pressure and the presence of long/irregular working hours. However, despite this, establishments in the transportation and storage sector are less likely on average to have formal procedures to deal with and prevent psychosocial risks, when compared to the total EU economy. One of the key findings of the study is that more awareness of psychosocial risks by managers is needed. The sector is also a relatively dangerous sector with the third highest number of non-fatal accidents in the EU.
The study looks at the various OSH management practices in the sector (including risk management practices, preventative measures, training on OSH), the main drivers and barriers for OSH management in the sector, and worker participation in OSH management practices. Additionally, the report examines other elements influencing OSH management practices, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation and robotisation, the increasing presence of long-term subcontracting/outsourcing practices, the increasing presence of platform workers, the increasing presence of green practices, improvements related to technical and organisational changes, and increasing difficulties in finding suitable personnel.
In the context of the study, Panteia analysed data from the 2019 European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER), which is conducted every 5 years by EU-OSHA. This was complemented by an in-depth literature review and interviews with organisations representing the transportation and storage sector at the European level. The report highlights sector-specific measures to improve risk management, including employee participation, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full report can be found here:
The executive summary can be found here:
For more information contact: Martin Clarke of Panteia (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Iñigo Isusi of Ikei (email@example.com)
Want to know more?