The Advisory Committee on safety and health at work (ACSH) is a tripartite body set up in 2003 by a Council Decision (2003/C 218/01) to streamline the consultation process in the field of safety and health at work and rationalise the bodies created in this area by previous Council Decisions – namely the former Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work (established in 1974) and the Mines Safety and Health Commission for safety and health in the coal mining and the other extractive industries (established in 1956). To ensure continuity concerning questions previously dealt with by the Mines Safety and Health Commission, a Standing Working Party (SWP) on the mining industry has been established within the Committee (Article 5 (4), of the Council Decision 2003/C 218/01).
The Committee is charged with assisting the European Commission in the preparation, the implementation and the evaluation of activities in the fields of safety and health at work. Its tasks are:
The Committee comprises full members made up of one government representative, one representative of trade unions and one representative of employers' organisations (at present 81 members) for each EU Member State. Two alternate members are appointed for each full member.
The Committee, which has two plenary meetings per year, includes three interest groups, each with representatives from national governments, trade unions and employers' organisations respectively. Each interest group selects one of its members to be its spokesperson and designates a coordinator.
The Committee is chaired by the Commission and its activities are coordinated by a ‘Bureau’, composed of two representatives from the Commission and the spokespersons and coordinators designated by the interest groups.
The Committee’s annual work programme is prepared by the Bureau for adoption by the Committee.
The Committee has established a number of working parties (currently 12) to deal with specific technical issues and organises workshops and seminars on specific topics.