The latest issue of ETUI's HesaMag focuses on working conditions in the waste and recycling industries in Europe. The Commission wants Europe to become a "recycling society" – one that reduces and uses waste as a resource – by 2020. The idea is that this "circular economy" will better protect the environment and create new jobs. But will they be inherently "sustainable jobs"? This report suggests they may not. From collection to recycling, waste workers face many risks. They have more work accidents than builders. Musculoskeletal disorders are taking a toll and modernisation of sorting facilities generally speeds up work paces. Workers are exposed to noise, extreme temperatures, dust and toxic products.
The special report of the latest issue of HesaMag looks at workers' exposure to chemical risks. Six years after the REACH Regulation came onto the books, is Europe’s chemicals market now kinder to health and the environment?
This issue carries a feature on standardization, an area governed by new European rules since January 2013. The regulations introduce a series of measures that open up new opportunities for trade unions to get more involved in the work of European standardization bodies.