Circular economy: new policy briefs from EU-OSHA

By Steve Ducker17 November 2021

EU-OSHA – the European Agency for health and safety at work – has published two policy briefs focusing on the role of digitalisation and waste management in the circular economy and its implications for occupational safety and health (OSH).

Under EU-OSHA’s foresight study on the circular economy four future scenarios were developed to anticipate changes and identify OSH risks.

EU-OSHA identified four possible future scenarios for the circular economy

EU-OSHA says potential pathways could vary widely and are designed to encourage dialogue and reflection with stakeholders around future possibilities so that today’s decision-making can render policy more future-oriented.

It added: “A shift to a circular economy is key to the future sustainability of the EU. For an effective transition, digital technologies are essential.

“Both workplace digitalisation as well as the change to circularity present opportunities and challenges for OSH, that need to be incorporated in this transition.

“A sustainable future needs a circular economy based on minimising waste streams and using them as resources. However, this has implications for the waste sector, and especially workers’ occupational safety and health.

“This policy brief examines what the future may hold for the waste sector in 2040. It identifies OSH issues, challenges as well as opportunities related to automation of waste processes, the use of robotics and rapidly changing regulation.”

You can download the policy briefs from EU-OSHA’s website at

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