This handbook aims to give an overview of the EU institutions and procedures involved in regulating health and safety at work, and the role of trade unions in relation to it. Depending on where their interests lie and what they already know about a given issue, readers can choose to explore the structure and organisation of the EU, ways in which trade unions can have an influence, or specific national examples.
The EU rules on health and safety at work derive from the EU Treaty and the directives that are drawn up on the basis of the Treaty. As well as these, there are technical standards, recommendations, guidance documents and communications, etc. The handbook focuses on the most important ones.
It also focuses on a few key aspects of the EU social dimension. The main thing to remember is that the information that comes out of the European Commission on the social dimension is just as important as the proposals for new directives, because it represents an invitation to the member countries and their citizens to take part in the discussion on developing the EU's social agenda.