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.


France: a trade union campaign on the prevention of breast cancer

11 December 2018
doctor with patient

Several sectoral and regional branches of the CFDT have launched an ambitious campaign to raise awareness and mobilise people around the issue of breast cancer caused by work.

Women, work and cancer – why is the link not being recognized?

6 December 2018
Conference panel

Cancer is the leading cause of work-related mortalities in the EU and is responsible for 100,000 unnecessary deaths a year. Yet most research and policy on its causes and prevention still assume that it is mainly men who are affected, even though an increasing proportion of the victims are now women. The need to shift research priorities and better address workplace prevention to reflect changing occupational risks was the subject of an ETUI conference in Brussels in early December.

On 21 and 22 November the second meeting of the UNI Global Amazon Network took place in London

29 November 2018
treated like a robot

On 21 and 22 November the second meeting of the Amazon Global Alliance took place in London. It was organised by UNI Commerce in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and focused on the issue of
‘Codetermination and labour standards in transnational companies – aspirations and reality @Amazon’. The meeting brought together 67 people from 17 countries and 3 continents (Europe, North America and Australia), including Amazon workers, trade union leaders from sectors including logistics, jobs and business, and researchers. The participants, who were meeting for the second time, had a joint slogan for Amazon: ‘We’re not robots’.

New issue of HesaMag lifts the lid on work-related cancer

29 November 2018
HesaMag 18 cover

Cancer kills 1.3m people in the European Union each year, but a staggering 100,000 of these deaths may be caused by workplace carcinogens, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The impact of cancer on workers is the focus of analysis in the latest issue of HesaMag, the ETUI’s magazine on working conditions, health and safety.

Revision of the Carcinogens Directive: the European Parliament wants better protection for health workers from exposure to hazardous drugs

21 November 2018

On 20 November the European Parliament’s Social Affairs Committee adopted amendments in the third revision of the Directive on the protection of workers from carcinogens and mutagens.
The amendments were adopted with a majority of around 85 % and were the result of compromises negotiated between Parliament’s various political groups.

Nail salons closed down in Brussels

20 November 2018

Following controls of 19 nail salons in a shopping arcade in the centre of Brussels by various inspectorates on 15 November 2018, ten of them were closed for undeclared work or for employing foreign workers without a valid residence permit. Of the 68 workers controlled, 18 were undeclared and 12 had no residence permit. Two cases have been filed for human trafficking involving two 17-year-olds exploited by their employer, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office stated on Friday.

France: Temporary workers more exposed to occupational risks than other workers

19 November 2018

Temporary workers are more exposed to occupational risks than other workers. This finding stems from a new study conducted by DARES, the research and statistics department of the French Ministry of Employment. Temporary workers are greatly exposed to physical stress in their work, with 22% of them having to handle heavy loads for more than 20 hours a week, compared with 12% for the whole French workforce. However, the only physical exposures more present among temporary workers are repetitive work for more than ten hours a week (29% against 21% for the whole workforce), as well as vibrations of the upper limbs (arms, shoulders) (7% against 6%), these differences being significant, everything else being equal.

Canada: alarming reports about breast cancer among customs workers

19 November 2018

Reports of 10 to 20 or more cases of breast cancer among Ambassador Bridge workers has a University of Windsor researcher and the union representing customs workers calling for an investigation.


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