ESENER-2 Methodology

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Universe and unit of analysis

The statistical population comprises all establishments that have five or more employees in the 36 participating countries, covering all sectors of economic activity except for private households (NACE T) and extraterritorial organisations (NACE U). The relevant statistical unit of analysis is the establishment, defined as comprising the activities of a single employer at a single set of premises (e.g. a single branch of a bank, a car factory or a school).

The 36 participating countries comprise all 28 European Member States, as well as six Candidate Countries (Albania, Iceland, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey), and two EFTA countries (Norway and Switzerland).


In each establishment surveyed, the person who knows best about the way safety and health risks are managed at their workplace is interviewed. This is different from ESENER-1 where “the most senior manager who coordinates safety and health activities in this establishment” was targeted. The main reason for the change was to get to the person who has the best knowledge about all health and safety issues, including details on risk assessment and other particular measures, regardless of their function or role in the establishment –which is asked anyway in a follow-up question. Also, it was expected that non-response would decrease by avoiding the more restrictive definition of the respondent applied in the ESENER-1 Methodology.

Sampling strategy

In order to ensure that the survey results are cross-nationally comparable, it is essential that the sampling strategy result in the same type of units being surveyed in each country. The quality of the available address registers varies across the participating countries in terms of coverage (especially the sectors of activity included) and in terms of the availability and accuracy of the necessary background information (such as the sector of activity and number of employees). Existing address registers are not comparable cross-nationally, therefore considerable efforts have been made to build samples that provide the necessary quality and ensure cross-national comparability. These efforts have required a screening procedure in those countries where the available address registers provide information at company rather than at establishment level.

Stratification of the sample is based on a matrix of four size classes and seven groups of sectors. This 28-cell sampling matrix was used in all countries except for the United Kingdom.[note 1]

ESENER-2 Sampling matrix

Sector group - NACE Rev.2 sections / Size - number of employees 5-9 10-49 50-249 250+
A: Agriculture, forestry and fishing
B, D, E, F: Construction, waste management, water and electricity supply
C: Manufacturing
G, H, I, R: Trade, transport, food/accommodation and recreation activities
J, K, L, M, N, S: IT, Finance, Real estate and other technical scientific or personal service activities
O: Public administration
P, Q: Education, human health and social work activities

Questionnaire development

The ESENER-2 questionnaire is based on the management version of the ESENER-1 questionnaire but almost all questions have been modified. The development of the ESENER-2 questionnaire was done in close cooperation between EU-OSHA, the main ESENER-2 contractor and a group of researchers on occupational health and safety from Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands.

The questionnaire has been subject to several tests:

  1. A cognitive pre-test in Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands, with a total of 40 in-depth face-to-face interviews. The main aim was to check the understanding and clarity of the questions. There were also a number of cognitive questions aimed at testing whether the standardized questions were interpreted in the intended way by respondents from different countries and different types of organisations and whether they were relevant to them. The cognitive test led to a number of modifications to the questionnaire.
  2. A translatability assessment of the English master questionnaire version. Experienced translators from four different language families elaborated rough translations of the draft master questionnaire in order to identify any ambiguities or other difficulties for translation. Where such difficulties were identified translators made proposals for alternative formulations for the master version, which was revised accordingly.
  3. A pilot field test was carried out in all 36 countries, with 50 to 70 interviews per country. This pilot test was done in the CATI mode and used the same infrastructure as the main survey. The pilot field test resulted in a number of changes to the master questionnaire and to the individual national versions of the questionnaire.


47 different national versions of the questionnaire have been developed for the countries covered by the survey (access the questionnaires in the table below). For languages shared by two or more countries, different national versions have been developed that take into account work-related practices such as worker representation or labour inspection, which require different questions and terminology. More details on the translation process can be found in the Translation Report –see below.

An optimal translation strategy is essential to ensure that each national version of the questionnaire comprises high-quality questions that can be directed at all types of enterprise within the country concerned and generates information that can be compared cross-nationally.

The basic steps included in the translation strategy adopted in ESENER-2 are:

  1. Two independent translations into each of the languages carried out by professional translators -native speakers of the target language- who were not in contact with each other while producing their translation.
  2. Review of the independent translations by an adjudicator, who drafted a new version.
  3. Review meetings between the adjudicator and the two translators in order to jointly discuss the new draft and agree on a final adjudicated version.
  4. Check of the adjudicated versions by EU-OSHA’s network of Focal Points, with a specific focus on the national OSH terminology, including the questions related to bodies of employee representation.

Sample sizes and questionnaire language versions

Master questionnaire File:Master questionnaire2.pdf
EU - 28 Member States Final sample size Interview languages
Austria 1.503 File:AT German2.pdf
Belgium 1.504 File:BE Dutch2.pdf

File:BE French2.pdf

Bulgaria 750 File:BG Bulgarian2.pdf
Croatia 751 File:HR Croatian2.pdf
Cyprus 751 File:CY Greek2.pdf
Czech Republic 1.508 File:CZ Czech2.pdf
Denmark 1.508 File:DK Danish2.pdf
Estonia 750 File:EE Estonian2.pdf

File:EE Russian2.pdf

Finland 1.511 File:FI Finnish2.pdf

File:FI Swedish2.pdf

France 2.256 File:FR French2.pdf
Germany 2.261 File:DE German2.pdf
Greece 1.503 File:EL Greek2.pdf
Hungary 1.514 File:HU Hungarian2.pdf
Ireland 750 File:IE English2.pdf
Italy 2.254 File:IT Italian2.pdf
Latvia 753 File:LV Latvian2.pdf

File:LV Russian2.pdf

Lithuania 774 File:LT Lithuanian2.pdf

File:LT Russian2.pdf

Luxembourg 752 File:LU Luxembourgish2.pdf

File:LU French2.pdf

File:LU German2.pdf

Malta 452 File:MT Maltese2.pdf

File:MT English2.pdf

Netherlands 1.519 File:NL Dutch2.pdf
Poland 2.257 File:PL Polish2.pdf
Portugal 1.513 File:PT Portuguese2.pdf
Romania 756 File:RO Romanian2.pdf
Slovakia 750 File:SK Slovak2.pdf
Slovenia 1.051 File:SI Slovenian2.pdf
Spain 3.162 File:ES Spanish2.pdf
Sweden 1.521 File:SE Swedish2.pdf
United Kingdom 4.250 File:UK English2.pdf
Candidate countries Final sample size Interview languages
Albania 750 File:AL Albanian2.pdf
Iceland 757 File:IS Icelandic2.pdf
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 750 File:MK Macedonian.pdf
Montenegro 452 File:ME Montenegrin.pdf
Serbia 752 File:RS Serbian2.pdf
Turkey 2.251 File:TR Turkish2.pdf
EEA Final sample size Interview languages
Norway 1.513 File:NO Norwegian2.pdf
EFTA Final sample size Interview languages
Switzerland 1.511 File:CH French2.pdf

File:CH German2.pdf

File:CH Italian2.pdf


Tender specifications

EU-OSHA published tender specifications[1] to carry out the ESENER-2 survey as part of an open call on 5th December 2012.

Support letter

Letters setting out the background and aims of the survey and the support from social partners were produced in all survey languages with the aim to encouraging participation in the survey.

Technical report

  • ESENER-2 Technical Report: Main report and executive summary[2]
  • ESENER-2 Quality Report[3]
  • ESENER-2 Translation report[4]

Further information for researchers

The full ESENER-2 dataset is accessible via the UK Data Service of the University of Essex, as it was the case for the ESENER-1 dataset, and is available at: To access data files, users are first required to register with UKDA. Information on the registration procedure is available at . For any query about registration or data access, please contact

The archive also provides access to survey documentation and guidance for data users. Users are recommended to read supplementary supporting documentation on the methodology provided on this web site before working with the data. Terms and conditions for the use of data are available at

Please note that all works which use or refer to ESENER should acknowledge its source by means of bibliographic citation in footnotes or in the reference section of publications. Similarly, any publication, whether printed, electronic, or broadcast, based wholly or partly on ESENER should acknowledge the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the UK Data Archive. It should also carry a statement that EU-OSHA and the UK Data Archive bear no responsibility for their further analysis or interpretation.

Further reading

  1. Tender specifications File:Esener-2-tender-specifications.pdf
  2. Technical report File:Esener2 Technical Report.pdf
  3. Quality report File:Esener2 Quality Report.pdf
  4. Translation report File:Translation Report.pdf


  1. In the United Kingdom with its large sample boost, samples were drawn on base of a 100-cell matrix consisting of 25 sector differentiations and 4 size-classes which was also used to steer the sample in the fieldwork period.