Action on work cancers is decades overdue

More protective laws, effective enforcement and unrelenting union action are needed to address Europe’s ‘immense’ occupational cancer problem, a top safety researcher has warned.

Laurent Vogel from the Brussels-based trade union research body ETUI points to research showing that cancers induced by working conditions kill over 100,000 people in the European Union each year.

Writing in the TUC’s Stronger Unions blog, he said: “Cancers account for 53 per cent of work-related deaths compared to just 2 per cent for work accidents. Every one of these deaths can be prevented.” The union safety expert added: “To do away with workplace cancers, there must be a stronger framework of laws, more checks by health and safety inspectors, and no let-up in union action to get human life valued more than company profits.”

On 4 March 2015, German, Austrian, Belgian and Dutch labour ministers sent a joint letter to the European Commission calling for an urgent review of the Directive on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work and making specific proposals to strengthen the law.

TUC Stronger Unions blog, 12 March 2015. Risks 695.

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