Commission omits workplace dangers from priority cancer actions

Responding to the publication of the European Commission’s Beating Cancer Plan, ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said:

“While we welcome the fact that health and safety at work is included in the plan, the level of ambition is disappointing. More than 100,000 people die every year from occupational cancer – around 10% of all cancer deaths in Europe. Work-related cancer should be a specific ‘flagship initiative’ in the plan.

“The plan does include ‘supporting actions’ on occupational cancer but the EU should be bolder – making zero-work related cancer a priority and a vision for 2030.

“There are simple measures the EU can take to make progress towards that goal. With skin cancer one of the most common, limits on exposure to the sun must be part of the EU’s health and safety standards.

“Moreover, the EU institutions should by 2024 limit exposure levels of at least 25 additional priority cancer-causing substances in the EU directive on carcinogens or mutagens at work, and strengthen existing exposure levels for commonly workplace cancer-causing substances like Crystalline Silica, Diesel emissions and asbestos.

“The gaps that exist in EU cancer protections also show why there is a need to adopt a new coherent, transparent and risk-based system of setting exposure limits.”

ETUC Resolution on the upcoming EU Occupational Safety and Health strategy in light of Covid-19:

The ETUC is a member of the Stop Cancer at Work campaign: