Better Protection from Cancer at Work

The European Commission wants to set exposure limits for more cancer causing substances to protect workers.

How did we get here?

Cancer is the first cause of work-related deaths in the EU. Every hour, 7-12 people die of cancer in the EU because they were exposed to carcinogenic (=cancer causing) substances at work in the past. The Commission already took action by setting exposure limits for 13 chemical substances to protect workers from the risks related to exposure to these carcinogens. Yet, several studies have called for the scope of these rules to be broadened. Now, more carcinogens are about to be added to that list.

 

Why is this important for me?

Because you don't wanna die of cancer. And you want to make sure that your work environment doesn't make you sick.

The extended list is supposed to increase protection for at least 4 million workers and improved clarity for employers and authorities. Together it is estimated that both proposals can prevent over 100 000 deaths caused by work-related cancer. Also, it is just fair if exposure limits for carcinogens are the same across the EU. Otherwise employers in certain countries would benefit from a competitive advantage to the detriment of their workers.

 

What's the content?

The proposal presented by EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen is setting exposure limits for another seven cancer-causing chemical substances (you can find the list here). 

As a result employers must assess risks to workers related to the exposure to these carcinogens at the workplace and must prevent exposure where risks occur. If possible, the substances should be substituted with a non- or less-hazardous process or chemical agent. If this is not possible, chemical carcinogens must be manufactured and used in a closed system to prevent exposure. Member States can adopt a lower (=stricter) national limit if they want to.

On top, the Commission published a practical guide for employers in order to help small and micro enterprises in their efforts to comply with health and safety rules. 

 

What's happening with this legislation in the future?

The European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee is working on this dossier since the beginning of 2017. The Member States finalized itstheir position during the 'Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council' (EPSCO) Meeting of June 15 and two weeks later they already reached an agreement with Parliament in the trilogue negotiations. Now, the deal needs to be formally adopted the Council and the Parliament.

 

Related Bills:

Posting of workers

A European Platform to fight undeclared work

Providing Services more easily across borders

politixNew visa rules for EU travellersReduced share of biofuels in energy mixFruit, vegetables and milk for European StudentsBan on all kind of driftnet fisheriesToo big to fail: Structural Reform of EU Banking SectorA European Platform to fight undeclared workA pan-European Pension System Fighting the trafficking of firearmsA New Waste Management System in the EUFinancial Transaction Tax: Making banks pay for the crisisLess Plastic Bags for EuropeEliminating roaming, securing net neutralityRight2Water: Water and sanitation as human rightEnforceable Flight Rights for Air PassengersPublic list of company owners to fight money launderingMore Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOsEuropean Solidarity CorpsTightened rules for safer and cleaner carsSafer Ship TravelsProtecting fish and marine ecosystemsUpdated European data protection laws Resettlement of Migrants in the EUSafety standards for new kinds of CablewaysCheaper cross-border Parcel DeliveryCross-border enforcement for speeding & traffic offencesEU-wide Minimum Standards for FrackingEuropean statistics relating to persons and householdsUpdated Rules for Audiovisual MediaNew Food Labeling RulesAccess to a Basic Bank Account for EveryoneA New Copyright Regime for EuropePollen as specific 'Ingredient' or Natural Honey Component?Circular Economy: Reducing waste in EuropeRules for cross-border divorcesBetter Management of Asylum FlowsAn Entry-Exit System for External European BordersResolution on Sexual and Reproductive HealthStronger Rules against Terrorism Financing and Money LaunderingCloning of animals New Rules for Tobacco Products and PackagingOrganic production and labelling of organic productsSimpler Rules for VAT in EcommerceLess Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the EUUpdated rules on 'novel foods'Free Wi-Fi for EverybodyEnsure safe and secure air travelBetter Checks of EU Citizens at External BordersUse of Flight Passenger Data Posting of workersBetter Connectivity and super-fast InternetReduced Flush Volume for ToiletsNew rules on privacy in electronic communicationMinimum standards for children accused in courtMore Security in EU Partner CountriesBetter Cooperation among Consumer Protection AuthoritiesEuropass - Better online tools for your job huntStricter Rules for the Export of potentially Dangerous GoodsStrategy Against Discrimination of LGBTI Persons Better protection for children of international couplesCreation of a European Union Agency for AsylumNew consumer rules when (online) shoppingProviding Services more easily across bordersA new electoral law for the European ParliamentBetter access to books for the blindBetter EU access for highly skilled workersCross-border portability: Access to streaming services from abroadMaking products & services more accessible for disabled peopleReducing pollutant emissions from carsConsumer rights for downloads and streaming services Improving the exchange of information on criminalsGeoblocking: Less consumer discrimination onlineBetter energy labels on electronic productsUpdated energy efficiency rulesA European ESTABetter protection for your moneyEuropean Year of Cultural Heritage 2018Creating a European Border and Coast GuardWork-Life Balance for allMore renewable energyEmpowering electricity consumersReducing administrative burden for EU citizens