Bulgaria: Joining the European Union

As Bulgaria joins the European Union, it must enforce tougher safety and health standards. To avoid having to pay out big compensation benefits, Bulgarian employers are looking more towards preventing accidents before they happen by setting up a safety and health monitoring service. ILO TV explains:

Date issued: 12 January 2007 | Size/duration: 00:01:58 (3.2 MB)

Script:

Monitors test the environment of this industrial plant in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. They make sure noise and ventilation are at safe levels.

Rumen Zahariev, manager, BRB Engineering

We usually measure the level of noise, vibrations, and micro-climate once a year.

With their entry into the European Union in 2007, Bulgaria’s businesses must meet EU standards in occupational safety and health.

Annie Rice, Subregional Office for Central and Eastern Europe, ILO

EU legislation and the accession process is one of the biggest incentives for improving health and safety in Bulgaria.

In order to help small and medium-sized businesses reach these standards, the Bulgarian Industrial Association has set up an affordable safety and health monitoring service.

Ivan Lenkov, director, Industrial Association Stara Zagora

The occupational safety agency was established in 2002. In 2003, a big co-project was started together with the International Labour Organization and the National Industrial Association. Its aim is to develop services for small to medium-sized businesses so they can meet requirements of the law for health and safety working conditions regulations and the European Union requirements.

Other local employers, such as flower producers, are positive about the agency’s services.

Prof. Nedko Nedkov, director, Institute of Roses and Aromatic Plants

I think it goes in the right direction. Much more attention is drawn to the health and safety working conditions. After becoming a member of the European Union and adopting the European laws, the situation will be much more favorable and more will be directed towards people’s health.

With an accident rate twice as high as in the EU member states, attention to better occupational safety comes none too soon.

The project is a model for other countries in the region and puts occupational safety firmly on the horizon for an expanding EU.