European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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26 January - 27 January 2012, Paris

Protecting workers from chemical hazards: 7th ETUI seminar

Over thirty trade unionists from 20 European countries met in Paris at the end of January for the 7th seminar on the protection of workers facing chemical risks. This seminar is staged every year by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) to coordinate trade union actions in that field across Europe.
After drawing up a critical analysis of the first years of implementation of the REACH regulation, the participants agreed to call on the competent authorities in the various Member States with regard to the substances recorded as being carcinogenic but not registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and therefore being marketed illegally in the European Union. A trade union campaign called ‘Zero cancer at work’ will also be run in 2012 in several European countries.
The other issues addressed this year were the difficulty of informing downstream users with regard to their obligations under REACH, the risks associated with nanotechnologies and the challenges coming from the possible modifications to European occupational health legislation.
Representatives from two European agencies were also in attendance. A representative from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) spoke on the problem of gender in terms of occupational health, while a representative from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) explained the operation of the ECHA Board of Appeal. The seminar closed with training for participants on substituting dangerous chemicals with safer alternatives.

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