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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

A guide on detoxifying workplaces

18 April 2019

The US Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has just published its new Guide to Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.

Vietnam bans glyphosate

15 April 2019
Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash

Vietnam has decided to ban all herbicides containing glyphosate. This is a further blow to Roundup, a key product of Monsanto, the US multinational now in the hands of agrochemical giant Bayer.

United States: Bayer-Monsanto sentenced to pay more than $80 million in damages to a glyphosate victim

2 April 2019

On 27 March, a federal US court in San Francisco (California) sentenced Bayer-Monsanto to pay more than $80 million in damages to Edwin Hardeman. The jury’s verdict was unanimous. The amount corresponds to compensation of more than $5 million in past and future non-economic loss damages, and $75 million in punitive damages for Monsanto’s grave negligence. The jury not only condemned the lack of information, but also highlighted the causal link between the cancer and the pesticide, considering that the latter had been a substantial factor causing the disease. The jurors were in no doubt that Monsanto had been aware of the risk and had deliberately decided not to inform customers.

The CJEU condemns the European Food Safety Agency’s lack of transparency in the glyphosate case

26 March 2019

On 7 March, the Court of Justice of the European Union annulled the decisions of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) refusing access to toxicity and carcinogenicity studies on the active substance glyphosate in the context of the European regulatory system governing pesticides (“phytopharmaceuticals”).

The CJEU annuls the authorisation granted by the Commission on the marketing of carcinogens

26 March 2019

On 7 March, the Court of Justice of the European Union annulled the authorisation granted by the European Commission to market lead chromates, stating that plenty of alternatives to these carcinogens were available.

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.

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