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03/05/2018

Help us to protect workers across Europe from exposure to dangerous substances!

Get involved in EU-OSHA’s new Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2018-19 and help make Europe’s workplaces safer, healthier and more productive. The campaign aims to make people aware of the presence of dangerous substances in many workplaces and the need to manage them effectively. A wide variety of guidance material, tools and good practice examples are available on the campaign website.

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What is the issue?

The subject affects a vast range of workers and sectors, and the prevalence of dangerous substances in Europe’s workplaces is one of the main reasons why the campaign is so vital. The campaign seeks to reach organisations of all sizes across Europe and provide them with the tools and resources they need to manage dangerous substances as best they can.

According to EU-OSHA’s European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2), 38% of enterprises reported that chemical or biological substances in the form of liquids, fumes or dust were present in their workplaces. Sectors particularly at risk include agriculture (62%), manufacturing (52%), and construction (51%). Furthermore, a 2015 Eurofound survey found that 17% of workers in the EU reported exposure to chemical products or substances for at least a quarter of their working time.

Large enterprises often use more than 1,000 different chemical products such as paints, inks, glues and cleaners. But dangerous substances also affect small and medium-sized enterprises: flour dust in bakeries can cause breathing problems like asthma; hairdressers and nail-technicians use dangerous chemicals than can cause skin diseases like dermatitis; and mechanics and other transport workers are exposed to diesels exhaust fumes which can affect the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

A key objective of the campaign is addressing carcinogens and work-related cancer, which leads to approximately 80,000 fatalities in Europe annually. Many cases can be prevented by limiting and recording exposure, substituting harmful chemicals where possible, and ensuring strict information and documentation requirements.

Get involved

Many workers and employers in particular in small and medium-sized enterprises are unaware of the risks found in their workplaces. This is why we want to get the message out to as many people as possible. There are many ways to get involved in the campaign, including by becoming an official campaign partner or a media partner.

Partners are key in promoting and supporting the campaign. In return, the campaign partnership also brings them a wide range of benefits, including opportunities to exchange knowledge, good practice and networking.

EU-OSHA has a network of focal points, who coordinate Healthy Workplaces Campaigns at national level. They organise a wide range of campaign activities and use their networks to get governments and workers’ and employers’ representatives on board. The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and their OSH ambassadors also work with EU-OSHA to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promote the campaign across Europe.

Hundreds of campaign events will take place in the coming months, so be sure to check the calendar of events to keep informed about what’s going on near you. You can also keep up-to-date with developments throughout the two-year campaign by checking the campaign website, by signing up to the campaign newsletter and by following the campaign’s social media channels on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (#EUhealthyworkplaces).