The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched its 2018-19 EU-wide campaign, Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances.
The launch marks the start of 2 years of events and activities aimed at drawing attention to the issue and promoting the best ways of tackling the risks that dangerous substances pose to workers.
Contrary to widespread belief, the use of dangerous substances is not decreasing in the EU, and the need to manage the risks they pose is as pressing as ever. Some of the substances that workers are most commonly exposed to include carcinogens. The European Commission has recently proposed to limit workers' exposure to five cancer-causing chemicals, in addition to the 21 substances that have already been limited or proposed to be limited.
Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, spoke at a press conference in Brussels to mark the campaign launch: "We will continue to raise awareness and take action to limit workers' exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. This is a key priority for the European Commission, not least because the European Pillar of Social Rights entitles workers to a high level of protection of their safety and health at work. EU-OSHA's campaigns are leading the way in reaching workplaces across Europe and help organisations adopt effective approaches to occupational safety and health management with the necessary tools."
The new campaign aims to promote techniques for the proper management of dangerous substances in the workplace, such as risk assessment, elimination and substitution, by disseminating practical tools and case studies. It also focuses on groups of workers in high risk professions.