Demand for Better Health and Safety Protection in the Workplace
More ambitious measures needed from the EC.
SW – 02/2022
On February 1, 2022, MEPs in the European
Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs adopted a draft report by rapporteur Marianne Vind
(S&D, DK) about a new EU strategic framework for health and safety in the
workplace after 2020 (see Report 10-2021).
Whereas the committee's MEPs welcomed the
EC's "Vision Zero" approach in the EU Strategic Framework for Health and Safety in the workplace
2021 - 2027 covering work-related accidents and illnesses, they also called for
a roadmap to reduce occupational accidents and work-related fatalities to
achieve this objective.
A much stronger focus on prevention strategies,
the strengthening of labour inspectorates, national health and safety services
and social partner dialogues as well as other legally binding initiatives to
protect workers, should help in this respect.
Reducing worker exposure to hazardous chemicals
In order to combat occupational cancers,
committee members called for a more ambitious timeline for protecting against
hazardous chemicals, especially with regard to the further revision of Directive 2004/37/EU about protecting workers from the
risks related to being exposed to carcinogens and mutagens at work. The EC
should immediately update the regulations covering maximum allowable concentrations
for at least 25 additional priority substances.
Furthermore, workers should be protected
from exposure to endocrine disruptors and occupational cancers associated with
night shift working. Special attention must be paid to groups that are particularly
exposed to hazardous chemicals, such as workers in the agricultural and
chemical industries or to especially vulnerable people, such as pregnant or
Learning from the pandemic
Members of the committee placed a special
emphasis on protecting and promoting mental health in the workplace with an eye
on the COVID-19 pandemic, especially amongst health care professionals and
other "front line" workers. They called for an EU directive on
psycho/social risks and well-being at work to prevent, amongst other things,
anxiety, burnout, depression and stress at work. The EC should push for
anxiety, burnout and depression to be recognised as occupational diseases.
With regard to the sharp increase in the
number of employees working from home since the start of the pandemic, the
Committee's MEPs, in line with their resolution of January 21, 2021, reiterated
their call for the EC to present a directive covering the right to be
They also called on the EC, in response to
the pandemic, to launch a specific revision of Directive 2000/54/EU about protecting workers from risks
related to being exposed to biological agents at work.
plenary of the European Parliament will vote on the report during its March