European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Health & Safety - working conditions

23% of European workers believe that their safety or their health is at risk because of their work – a figure which shows that working conditions in Europe are not improving. And even though manufacturing employment across Europe is shrinking and losing ground to service jobs, exposure to traditional physical hazards - noise, dangerous goods, heavy lifting, etc. – has not gone away. In this section we monitor latest news and highlight our research activities on working conditions and occupational health and safety.

News

Plastic – a human health crisis

21 February 2019
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A recent report from a coalition of NGOs lead by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) reveals that plastic is a human health crisis hiding in plain sight. To date, research into the human health impacts of plastic have focused narrowly on specific moments in the plastic lifecycle, often on single products, processes, or exposure pathways. This approach fails to recognize that significant, complex, and intersecting human health impacts occur at every stage of the plastic lifecycle: from extraction of fossil fuels, to consumer use, to disposal and beyond. According to the report, uncertainties and knowledge gaps often impede regulation and the ability of workers, consumers and policymakers to make informed decisions. However, the full scale of health impacts throughout plastic’s lifecycle are overwhelming and warrant a precautionary approach.

Burnout: faced with an epidemic, Belgium launches a pilot project

19 February 2019

In Belgium, stress and burn-out are responsible for one-third of all days off work. Furthermore, the increase in mental illnesses (including burnout and depression) to a large extent explains the increase in the number of people permanently leaving the workforce on health grounds. Faced with this worrying economic and health problem, the Belgian Federal agency for occupational risks (FEDRIS) launched a pilot project on burnout in January 2019.

Detecting work-related diseases using alert and sentinel systems: a report of the European Agency for Safety and Health at work

14 February 2019

A report of the European Agency for Safety and Health at work (EU-OSHA) analyses the alert and sentinel systems used in various European countries for the early detection of work-related diseases. This report is based on the analysis of twelve national schemes implemented in European countries or the United States, all of which help to spotlight health problems caused by bad working conditions and insufficient prevention measures in companies.

Publication of the directive introducing new limit values into the European legislation on carcinogens

7 February 2019

On 31 January 2019, the Official Journal of the European Union published the text of Directive 2019/130. This directive constitutes the second step of the process of revising the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (CMD).

An ETUI publication on occupational health translated into Brazilian Portuguese

30 January 2019
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In 2018, the Fondation Fundacentro, the Brazilian federal agency responsible for occupational health, decided to publish a Brazilian Portuguese translation of an ETUI book on workplace prevention via posters. The ETUI is happy to thus contribute to the discussion on the importance of trade union action on occupational health.

Enormous gaps identified in the recognition of occupational cancers in Europe

18 December 2018
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A new report by EUROGIP presents an analysis of the extent to which occupational cancers are recognised in nine European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. It also looks at the schemes for identifying occupational cancers, especially via monitoring the health of people exposed to carcinogens in the course of their working careers.

Trade union networks: a response to occupational health in small firms?

17 December 2018

The results of a project on best practices for organising worker representation for health and safety were presented at a seminar organised in Brussels on 29 November. This seminar allowed trade union activists to describe their day-to-day experiences in the countries covered by the project. It also included a fascinating presentation on the results of the research.

Events

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