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22 April 2014

28 April 2014: World Day for Safety and Health at Work

"Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work" is the theme chosen by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for the 2014 edition of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. An ILO report published in early February calls for measures to prevent or control the adverse effects of chemicals on workers, the public and the environment.

National trade union confederations in Europe are targeting other issues, some reflecting economic conditions. Spain’s UGT and CC.OO trade union confederations, for instance, will be staging events across the country to condemn the cuts in public agency and private company budgets for the prevention of work-related risks. The focus in the UK will be on the need for strong regulation in face of a concerted attempt to roll back health and safety at work regulations launched by David Cameron’s Conservative government.

Unions in the Netherlands and Germany have scheduled activities on the risks of asbestos – still a very live issue, especially for building workers. Around 1.4 million tonnes of asbestos remain to be removed in the Netherlands, for example. Croatian unions will be zeroing in on the health consequences of work-related stress - a theme also the focus of a European campaign.

The European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) will be marking the 28 April celebrations by stressing that these commemorations must not become an opportunity for national and European authorities to salve their consciences on the cheap. "Let us not be taken in by the false sentiment on 28 April, but demand a clear and detailed accounting”, Laurent Vogel editorialized in HesaMag magazine, just out. “Death by work is an ongoing reality determined by the pursuit of profit, flexibility, a lack of democracy in the workplace", said the ETUI researcher.

Read more:

List of activities organized by unions to mark 28 April

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