‘[Against] the backdrop of the major health crisis, due to covid-19, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that workers in Europe are protected.’
The European Commission has proposed a fourth revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to improve the protection of workers from cancer causing substances. The proposal was developed in close collaboration with scientists, and representative of workers, employers and Member States, the Commission said.
The latest revision sets new and updated limit values for three important substances, these being acrylonitrile, nickel compounds and benzene. The Commission said the estimates show that more than 1.1 million workers in a wide range of sectors will benefit from improved protection because of the new values. As well as providing benefits to workers, the new or revised occupational exposure limits for the three substances will benefit companies by reducing costs linked to work-related ill health and insurance payments.
The Commission says that each year around 120 000 work-related cancer cases occur as a result of exposure to carcinogens at work in the EU, leading to approximately 80 000 fatalities annually. The proposal is the first initiative of the Commission’s commitment to fight cancer under the upcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights said ‘[Against] the backdrop of the major health crisis, due to covid-19, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that workers in Europe are protected. We will look into concrete ways on how to achieve this via the future occupational safety and health strategic framework.’