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31 May 2016

A new EU Roadmap on carcinogens

On 25 May 2016, six organisations, including the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), gathered together in Amsterdam to sign a Covenant on a new "Roadmap on carcinogens". This voluntary action scheme aims to raise awareness about the risks of carcinogenic exposure in the workplace and to exchange good practices. The Roadmap, drawn up by the Covenant’s signatories, was adopted at a conference organized by the Dutch EU Presidency on the prevention of work-related cancer. Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal secretary in charge of health and safety at work, took part in the debate alongside four ETUI researchers.

The action scheme will continue until the Austrian Presidency begins in 2019. Some of the activities to be developed over the next three years will aim to provide employers with information about limit values and methods for risk assessment and management. Another goal is to raise the awareness of employers and employees about the risks of exposure to carcinogens, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and to achieve a more widespread and efficient exchange of the good practices that already exist in this area.

Jukka Takala, one of the key speakers at the conference, estimates in a recent ETUI publication that occupational cancer causes over 100, 000 deaths in the EU every year; 20 times more than the number of deaths caused by accidents at work.

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