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First project meeting

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


Due Diligence for Leather

Launch of a new European Social Dialogue Project:
Due Diligence for Healthy Workplaces in the Tanning Industry

On 3rd March, European Social Partners, COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union, launched their new project Due Diligence for Healthy Workplaces in the Tanning Industry in the framework of the EU support Programme for the Social Dialogue.

With the cooperation of UNIC (Italy), VDL (Germany), ACEXPIEL (Spain), FFTM (France), UKLF (UK), APPBR (Romania) and SG (Sweden), they aim at carrying out three objectives:
- conduct a EU survey on current practices for the identification and reporting of concerns regarding workplace health & safety conditions in tanneries along the leather value chain
- the update of the OiRA on-line Risk Assessment tool  of the tanning sector
- the organisation of a public Final Conference in the second half of 2018 where the results of the project will be widely disseminated.


The repulsive pictures and reports on workplace accidents or sub-standard working conditions in third countries’ tanneries conveyed by mass media affect negatively the image of the industry and the appeal of leather in the general public. Intolerable situations need to be eradicated, tanners need practical and cost-effective tools for demonstrating good practice and buyers of leather need concrete guidance on how to evaluate suppliers for avoiding reputational risks. Certification schemes, generally self-referenced and involving costly audits, have appeared on the market, but their proliferation causes as many dysfunctions as Environmental labels and certifications, notably because they are mutually exclusive and create rising unproductive costs. With the adoption of the Guidelines on Due Diligence for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear sector in February 2017, the OECD has given to this important topic a new momentum.

Europe’s Tanning industry has been working on this argument for over two decades, notably on the nature of the instruments used for assessing, reporting, demonstrating and certifying due diligence along the leather supply chain.
Both sides of the industry vindicate their key role in the definition of working conditions and in the development of the instruments for implementing due diligence in the leather supply chain.
This project aims to provide an institutional contribution to this debate.


Project Details:
Project Abbreviation: Due Diligence Leather (DDL)
Project Title: Due Diligence for Healthy Workplaces in the Tanning Industry
Project Reference: VP/2016/001/0009
Project Duration: 19 months from 01.03.2017 – 30.09.2018


Risk Assessment On-Line Tool

Pilot Sector Online Tool for Risk Assessment in the Leather and Tanning industry successfully launched

OIRAIn a joint project of the social partners of the European Leather Industry, the former ETUF/TCL now industryAll and COTANCE have developed an “Online Risk Assessment Tool” on Safety and Health at Work for small and medium sized tanneries. It is focussed to assist them on prevention and management of risks for tannery workers, facilitate the setting of a company strategy in this field and avoid possible adverse effects of restructuring in the sector.

Leather and Tanning is a potentially high risk sector dealing with heavy machines and various chemicals. Wrong handling of machines and chemicals can cause severe injuries or otherwise cause damage to the human body at the workplace. An improper working environment can as well result in an increase of sick leave and ultimately lower motivation and commitment of workers with an adverse impact on competitiveness.

The tool is meant as a reference to give valuable information and suggestions to perform a risk assessment for individual tanneries in order to minimize and eliminate health and safety risks. Implementation of the tool does however not necessarily ensure legal compliance with the national health and safety regulations. This is to be ascertained with the domestic health and safety authorities. The tool is intended to raise awareness for health and safety issues in the tannery and give examples for good practice.    

The software of the online tool has been provided by the European Agency on Health and Safety (EU-OSHA) in Bilbao, which also allocated comprehensive assistance in the technical implementation of the tool as well as on general aspects of health and safety.

The project could not have been implemented without the great assistance and feedback given by the project partners of the project, that is the national organizations of the trade unions and employers organisations of the European Leather Industry.

The tool covers all major areas in a tannery, amongst them:

-    OSH Management
-    Inhouse Transport
-    Emergency Management
-    Working with Raw Hides and Skins
-    Use of Machines
-    Use of Chemicals
-    Office workplaces

Users of the tool are guided through the different steps from evaluation of potential risks to an action plan with solutions and measures and a final report.

All feedback is welcome and will be considered in the foreseen review. Please send to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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