European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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10 April 2015

ETUI contributes to new occupational health and safety ‘bible’

The ETUI has been involved in coordinating and preparing a new compendium on health and safety in the workplace. Entitled Les risques du travail. Pour ne pas perdre sa vie à la gagner (‘Work-related risks. So as not to lose your life while earning your living’), this work looks back over the main changes that have taken place in the world of work in the last thirty years and at their impact on workers’ health. Four ETUI researchers have contributed to the volume.

‘Four years ago, the publishing house La Découverte contacted the European Trade Union Institute asking us to contribute to a completely new edition of a book that had proved highly successful when it first came out in 1985. The initial publication brought together all the existing knowledge about work-related risks; at the time it filled quite a gap in this area. Since then the knowledge in question has been much more broadly disseminated by the development of a substantial occupational health and safety literature. La Découverte’s wish was to tackle the subject from a new angle by devoting part of the book to ways of countering work-related risks and the publisher believed that the ETUI team was in a good position to contribute to this new approach’, explained ETUI researcher Laurent Vogel who was responsible for editing the book alongside three well-known French specialists, Annie Thébaud-Mony, Serge Volkoff and Philippe Davezies.

Whereas the original edition of the work was very much oriented to the specificities of the French situation, the 2015 edition benefits from contributions by numerous international experts, including David Michaels, director of the American occupational safety and health administration, Spanish health and social inequality specialist Joan Benach, Karen Messing, a scholar from Quebec and pioneer in the field of women’s occupational health, and Judge Guariniello, who became world famous for imposing prison sentences on the top bosses of Eternit, the asbestos and cement manufacturing firm.

‘Even if our analyses do not necessarily always converge, the factor uniting the almost hundred contributors to the work is their determination to find ways of promoting better working conditions. All are researchers thoroughly committed to improving the wellbeing of workers’, said Laurent Vogel.

Three other ETUI researchers were involved in the preparation of this workplace health and safety ‘bible’, as it has been described by the French specialised journal Santé&Travail: Tony Musu explains how the European REACH regulations can contribute to the prevention of chemical risks; Aida Ponce describes the challenges posed by the spread of nanomaterials in the workplace; Fabienne Scandella focuses on women’s working conditions in the cleaning sector.

The official presentation of the book will take place in Paris on 15 April next; on 9 June it will be debated at a gathering organised by the ETUI in Brussels.

To find out more about the book: La Découverte’s website

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