More protection to employees against carcinogens and mutagens at work

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Today the hemicycle approved by majority an amendment to the Directive by the Commission related to the protection of workers from the risk related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of work-related deaths in the EU. Annually, 53% of occupational deaths are attributed to cancer, compared with 28% for circulatory diseases and 6% for respiratory ones. The most common types of occupational cancer are lung cancer, mesothelioma (caused by exposure to asbestos particles) and bladder cancer. Everyday thousands of employees are exposed to fumes and substances containing carcinogens or mutagens that can damage their health, especially in the sectors of construction, steel, chemical, automotive, wood working, textile and hospitals.

The amended directive covers 6 more chemical agents, including diesel exhaust emissions, causing cancer or mutations relying on scientific evidence, assessed by the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) and on further impact assessment, and social dialogue, by the tripartite Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH).

MEP Enrique Calvet Chambon, ALDE shadow on this file said:

“It is always good news for ALDE to increase protection to employees at work at the European level, and at the same time strengthen the Single Market. Our goal was to develop the Commission’s work adding diesel exhaust emissions to the directive and we made it possible”.

New rules also will establish that the national authority responsible for the health surveillance of workers can decide that health surveillance must continue after the end of exposure, for as long as needed to safeguard health.

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