European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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15 April 2013

EU report reveals green jobs health risks

green jobs

"Are green jobs safe?" queries the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in a new report. The hefty tome reviews old and new risks from the recent growth in the green economy.

The green energy craze, for example, puts a growing number of workers at risk of falls when erecting and servicing wind turbines. Less visible is the danger to workers from the chemicals used in manufacturing them – their blades are made ​​using allergy-inducing epoxy resins.

Waste management and recycling workers have to handle products that may be energy efficient but still harbour highly toxic substances: lithium in electric car batteries, or mercury in low-energy light bulbs. Not to mention the hazards of recycling nanotechnology products, where workers are left completely in the dark.

"There is already evidence that the ‘greening’ of the economy in the EU has resulted in workers being put at greater risk”, observes the European agency.

While ETUI researcher Aida Ponce argues that "Green jobs are a growth opportunity not to be missed in a crisis-hit Europe, but not at the expense of workers’ health".

The report

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