• cotance@euroleather.com

University of Northampton/ICLT and Prevent win the tenders of the new COTANCE-industriAll Social Dialogue project on Due Diligence for healthy workplaces in the tanning industry

On May 11, 2017, COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union met in Paris with the project partners forming the Steering Committee of their new Social Dialogue project that looks into key aspects of health and safety in tannery workplaces. With the European Social Partners, the Steering Committee includes ACEXPIEL (Spain), FFTM (France), UKLF (United Kingdom), UNIC (Italy) and VDL (Germany). Its role is to drive the activities that are planned in their 19-months work programme up to the Final Conference in Brussels expected to take place in the European Parliament in September 2018.

Their ambition is to develop two main activities:

  • revise and update the OiRA Self-Asessment tool for the tanning sector developed in the early 2010 (available for free on-line since 2013 here “link”), which allows small and medium sized tanneries to make a self-assessment of health and safety risks,as well as selecting good practice measures indicated there for preventing workplace incidents. It allows operators to develop their own Risk Assessment Reports, which are compulsory in the EU and other countries;
  • conduct a wide survey on how leather products manufacturers/importers set tannery workplace standards and monitor work conditions in their supply chain, how EU tanneries are regulated/controlled, how their own leather supply chain can be monitored, and how observers/stakeholders observe and interact with the leather value chain

To support this work, 2 distinct tenders were issued earlier this year. The offer received from University of Northampton/ICLT, to develop the survey and analyse the results, was shortlisted, while Prevent, the Belgium-based consultancy specialised in OSH including research, was selected for the update of the OiRA on-line tool. Both were invited to Paris to present their offers and agree on the final terms for carrying out the activities.

The OiRA tool for Tanning is already a success story acknowledged by the European Commission. It was the first OiRA sectoral tool developed and since has gained many users. Indeed, according to official data, the number of OiRA accounts created with the Tanning tool is 1672, while the number of Risk Assessments carried out is 1993, topping the rankings of all other OiRA sectoral tools. The Tanning tool has also been translated into Spanish and Portuguese increasing its reach.

However, the European Social Partners do not want to sit back on their laurels and intend to go much further. They are going to explore the possibility of the OiRA tool becoming much more than a Self-Assessment tool for tanners, transforming it into an authoritative standard for certifying workplace health and safety credentials of tanneries, thus providing the leather value chain with a cost-effective tool for brands and retail chains and also for tanners.

The Steering Committee cleared both offers and took a number of other practical decisions relevant to the launching of the multi-lingual, multi-stakeholder survey later this year in mid-September.

Paris, 11 May 2017