The findings come from the second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2) by EU-OSHA and show the UK measured highly for board engagement against the average of 61% for the 28 EU member states.
The poll of 50,000 organisations finds 76% of employers in the EU carry out OSH risk assessments. The UK scored highly again: 92% of employers confirmed they carried out regular assessments, level with Denmark.
The UK, Denmark and Sweden also had the highest proportion of organisations which reported their risk assessments were carried out by directly-employed staff rather than that by consultants.
EU-OSHA polled organisations with more than five employees in 36 countries – the 28 EU members plus Albania, Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.
Complex legal obligations were seen as major barriers to compliance by 40% of organisations in the EU. Only 27% of UK employers felt the legislative framework was too complex but the proportion rose to 55% in Greece and 67% in Italy.
Almost one in four EU employers (23%) said lack of money was a barrier to sound OSH management; 45% of Turkish organisations agreed but only 15% of UK employers.
Legislative compliance was cited by 85% of EU establishments as a key driver to maintain OSH standards, while 79% felt meeting the expectations of their employees or their representatives was a major reason for managing safety and health well.
Avoiding fines was a strong incentive for 78% of EU organisations (83% in the UK). Reputational concerns were cited by 77% of employers and maintaining or increasing productivity was cited as a major influence by 64%, falling to 53% of UK organisations.
The most commonly reported workplace hazard was stress and physical threat from dealing with difficult customers, patients and pupils, reported by 58% of the organisations in the EU. This may reflect the shift in recent decades to a service-based economy in Europe.
UK employers led the 36 countries in having action plans and procedures to combat workplace bullying, stress and violence