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On 2 December, the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) passed a resolution on health and safety at work, condemning the European Commission for blocking health and safety improvements and for putting forward an “extremely weak” health and safety strategy (‘Framework Strategy 2014-2020’).
“The ETUC called for:
- Legally enforceable exposure limits for 50 of the most cancer-causing chemicals and substances toxic for reproduction;
- A Directive on musculoskeletal disorders to prevent back injuries and other illnesses caused by heavy lifting or muscular strain;
- Action to require employers to assess and prevent psychosocial risks at work such as stress which 25% of workers experience.”
According to the ETUC, the European Commission has:
- blocked the revision of the Directive on Carcinogens or Mutagens at Work, with the result that only 3 cancer inducing chemicals have European exposure limits;
- blocked an agreement between employers and employees to protect hairdressers from harmful chemicals from becoming law;
- held back a Directive, which has been drafted, on back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Bernadette Ségol, Secretary General of the ETUC, said “It is a scandal that 100,000 people die every year in the EU from occupational cancers, and an outrage that the Barroso Commission refused to pass any new health and safety law. I invite the new Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen to take action to protect European citizens from death, disease and illness at work.”
The text of the resolution will be available soon.