Tag Archives: ETUC

Europe: Workers’ Memorial Day – 30,000 more preventable workplace deaths expected by 2030

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Almost 30,000 people may lose their lives at work in the EU over this decade without action to make workplaces safer, trade unions are warning on International Workers’ Memorial Day.

The number of fatal workplace accidents fell slowly over of the last decade, although progress was far from steady with deaths rising again in 2019, according to Eurostat data.

Another 27,041 workplace deaths should be expected between 2020 and 2029 if change continues at the same pace as during the last decade, an analysis by the European Trade Union Institute has found (see Notes below).

Workplace deaths are not expected to fall at all in Spain, are set to get even worse in France and wouldn’t end in Europe for more than 30 years.  They could though be ended by 2030 if the political will existed.

Number of workplace deaths expected this decade and year in which fatal workplace accidents will be eliminated in selected member states if 2010-2019 trends continue:

Poland: 563 deaths – 2027
Portugal: 481 deaths – 2030
Romania 1,451 deaths – 2036
Austria: 694 deaths – 2037
Italy: 3,434 deaths – 2042
Germany: 3,143 deaths – 2044
Czechia: 851 deaths – 2052
France: 7,803 deaths – Never
Spain: 3,191 deaths – Never

EU27: 27,041 – 2055

The findings come as the European Trade Union Confederation launches a manifesto for zero death at work which calls on European leaders to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk” on saving the lives of working people.

The manifesto – which has been signed by Ministers, MEPs, trade union leaders and top occupational health and safety experts – called for an increase in workplace health and safety training, inspections and penalties to end workplace fatalities by 2030.

Half a million fewer workplace safety inspections are taking place across Europe now than at the start of the last decade, the ETUC’s analysis of International Labour Organisation data has found.

As well as workplace accidents, the ETUC are also calling on EU leaders to do more to end the scandal of cancer, which still takes the lives of over 100,000 people every year, as well as protecting workers from increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change.

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Claes-Mikael Stahl said:

“Nobody should leave home worried about whether or not they will make it back to see their family after work. But that’s the daily reality for many workers, often because of irresponsible employers cutting corners to increase profits and politicians who attack common sense safety rules and inspections for ideological reasons.

“Thousands of people are still losing their lives every year in brutal – and avoidable – accidents on construction sites, in factories and at other workplaces. Millions of people have also died after being exposed daily to cancer-causing substances at work.

“While workplace deaths might seem like something from another century, these tragedies are set to keep happening in Europe for at least another 30 years. That isn’t inevitable though.

“On International Workers’ Memorial Day, we remember the dead and vow to fight for the living. If politicians are willing to act, we could achieve zero deaths at work by 2030. It’s high time the lives of working people were made a priority.”

Notes

Projection based on the European statistics on accidents at work database (ESAW), linear regression was used to predict the number of fatal accidents at work in the years to come. The number of fatal accidents at work were predicted separately for a selection of Member States, and for EU27 as a whole. For EU27, time predicted yearly fatal accidents with R² = .63, F(1, 7) = 11.7, p = .01.

Source: ETUC

Ireland: ICTU supports the ETUC’s Zero work deaths campaign on 28 April

 

Thursday 28th April 2022 – Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living

Congress,  along with the Government, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), Ibec, and the CIF will collectively mark Workers’ Memorial Day Ireland on April 28th  at the national and annual commemorative event to remember people killed, injured, made ill and bereaved through work-related accidents.

Congress President Kevin Callinan will be joined by Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the Health & Safety Authority, and Minister Damien English TD who will lay a wreath in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance on behalf of the state to remember those workers we have lost. They will be joined by members of the Deasy family, whose son Lorcan died in a construction accident.

In Ireland in the ten year period between 2012 and 2021, 481 people were killed in work-related incidents and many thousands more were severely injured or made ill. In 2021, 38 people were killed in accidents. We know that in addition to these official figures, we have also lost many front-line workers to Covid-19 over the last 2 years.

Part of the tragedy of these losses is that we actually know how to stop workplace fatalities and injuries. The evidence is there. It involves workers and managers cooperating to create safe systems of work, to assess hazards and to reduce risks. It involves education and training for workers and management and support for the role of safety reps in our workplaces. It requires monitoring, prevention, protection, and reporting. And it also requires compliance measures including inspections, and penalties for those who do not take their legal and moral responsibilities seriously.

Congress will therefore be supporting a new campaign promoted by the European Trade Union Confederation for “Zero Deaths” at work. Zero death at work is not a utopian dream. The trend in fatal workplace accidents is down and eradication of fatal accidents is achievable. Every death at work is one too many.

The EU’s current health and safety strategy says “All efforts must be deployed to reduce work-related deaths as much as possible, in line with a Vision Zero approach to work-related deaths”. These are fine words, but the actions promised in it will not achieve zero deaths. However, we know that the tools exist to make this happen. It just needs commitment and political will. We need the EU, our own government, our partners gathered here today, and trade unions also, to “walk the walk” rather than “talk the talk”.

This means a concerted joined-up effort to

–   Prevent workplace accidents and occupational diseases, stopping exposure to hazardous and cancer-causing substances and being ready for further pandemics

– Making the physical and mental health of workers the point of departure when organising work and designing the workplace.

While fatal accidents are declining, occupational diseases are increasing. Some 100,000 workers in Europe die every year from occupational cancer due to exposure to hazardous substances. Long working hours and psychological pressure at work cause heart-disease, stroke, depression, and suicide. Bad posture, repetitive movement and heavy lifting cause backpain and other ‘musculoskeletal’ disorders and in turn cause depression and people being unable to work.

Source: ICTU

 

Europe: 28 April – Workers Memorial Day: HEALTH AND SAFETY IS YOUR RIGHT!

 

With 1 in 3 people working from home, and those at the workplace taking special precautions, COVID-19 shows the life and death importance of health and safety at work.

Among the 530,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the European Union* are uncounted thousands of workers who got it at work. We mourn their loss and offer condolences and solidarity to loved ones. We also remember those who died in the last year from work-related cancer and other illness and accidents at work: over 100,000 in Europe alone.

While vaccination offers hope, health and safety must remain an absolute priority in the coming months and beyond. Health and safety are not gifts from the authorities or a good employer: health and safety at work is YOUR right. A right that unions fight for!

In the European Union ‘Every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and dignity’**. EU law***

  • obliges employers to provide healthy and safe workplaces,
  • requires all workers to be protected by health and safety law, and
  • gives workers the right to information and consultation on health and safety, and to designate safety representatives.

It means employers are responsible for obvious risks such as exposure to dangerous substances, heavy lifting or repetitive movements, as well as other less widely acknowledged risks such as work-related stress, harassment and bullying.

Despite clear rights, health and safety is far from a reality for all workers. One in three workers in Bulgarian, Slovakia and Spain and almost half in Czechia and Greece who must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at work are only provided it sometimes or not at all. During the COVID crisis many essential workers, among which women are overrepresented in the care and cleaning sectors, have not had adequate PPE. The same applies to precarious workers, whose limited social protection gives them no choice but to continue working, even if they have coronavirus symptoms.

Many workers have not been able to socially distance. Homeworking carries its own risks like increased domestic violence (up by a third in some EU countries during lockdown), longer hours unable to disconnect, and a lack of appropriate equipment at home. The growth of workers in digital platforms leaves increasing numbers of workers without proper protective equipment – only 35% of platform workers say their platform had taken measures to assist them in the pandemic.

Trade unions and safety representatives play a vital role in ensuring health and safety. Any working person who cares about their own health and safety at work should join a union and find out if they have a safety representative. A trade union can help to ensure that a safety representative is appointed and listened to by management.

Trade unions fight for better health and safety in the workplace and in law. Unions have obtained from the EU occupational exposure limits for many cancer-causing substances and are fighting to get tougher limits and for more substances. Unions are seeking stronger legal obligations on employers to tackle stress and back pain (and other so-called musculo-skeletal disorders). Unions are also pushing for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to implement its centennial conference decision in 2019 to make occupational safety and health a fundamental right at work.

Health and safety are not just for Workers Memorial Day or even the pandemic – it’s your right and for life – literally!

*As of 25 February 2021

**Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, art. 31

***Occupational Health and Safety Framework Directive,1989

 

Europe: Commission must rethink ‘astonishing’ omission of workers’ health and safety from work programme | ETUC

The ETUC is using Workers Memorial Day to appeal again to the European Commission to prioritize workplace health and safety in its plans for the next five years in light of the coronavirus crisis.

Trade unions first raised the alarm last September when occupational health and safety was omitted from Ursula von der Leyen’s political guidelines, pointing out that every year there are 4,000 fatal accidents at work and 120,000 people die of work-related cancer.

Despite that, the Commission continued to overlook this matter of life or death when it published its work programme for 2019 to 2024 in January.

The ETUC is now writing again to the Commission President to urge her to reassess her priorities in light of the coronavirus crisis, which has been responsible for hundreds of deaths at work.

In a separate letter sent to Nicholas Schmit, the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, today the ETUC and its affiliates have called on him to ensure Covid-19 is recognised as an occupational disease.

Our appeals come on Workers Memorial Day, the international day of remembrance for those who have lost their lives at work which is routinely observed by the European Commission.

The ETUC is calling on the European Commission to:

  • Include a plan for zero workplace deaths and the elimination of work-related cancer to its work programme for 2020.
  • Add Covid-19 to the EU directive on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents to ensure the most effective and strict prevention measures
  • Enlarge the scope of the recommendation concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases to cover all professions exposed to Covid-19 at a higher level than for the general population
  • Enforce existing legislation in member states after a dramatic drop in workplace inspections in many countries

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said:

“The omission of health and safety from the European Commission’s agenda was astonishing before the crisis considering there are still 4,000 fatal accidents at work and 120,000 people dying of work-related cancer every year.

“In light of recent events, it would be grossly negligent to keep turning a blind eye to this matter of life and death.

“Yet workplace health and safety is still not given the importance it deserves in the Commission’s roadmap towards lifting Covid-19 containment measures. The exit strategy needs to have a hazard-based approach, with proper prevention measures put in place before we can return to work.

““It is high time for Ursula von der Leyen and her team to prioritize occupational health and safety, of which there was no mention in her political guidelines when elected Commission President and of which is still no mention in the recently leaked Commission work programme.”

Latvia: ETUC paziņojums Starptautiskajā darba aizsardzības dienā 28. aprīlī

ETUC paziņojums Starptautiskajā darba aizsardzības dienā 28. aprīlī

Global: Trade unions across the globe are marking 28 April – ETUC


#IWMD20 Have a look at trade union actions across the world 28april.org

? Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living #Covid19 #Coronavirus

Europe: On 28 April ETUC remembers those who died from corona virus at work

ETUC has today shared 28 April materials for general use prepared by their communication department.

The aim is to make a solid connection between the current Covid 19 crisis and more general health and safety issues.

ETUC has provided the materials in formats for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (and also in editable formats so you can edit – add your logo and translate), a statement signed by ETUC and European sectoral trade union federations, and a list of short texts we will use with the visuals on social media.

ETUC will publish the statement and start posting on social media from Friday 24 April, with new posts every day until and including Tuesday 28 April.

You are encouraged to use the materials as you wish, to translate and adapt, and also to share/like ETUC posts . ETUC has full rights for photos so you can use them too. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #IWMD20, we are also using #CoronaVirus and #Covid19 .

ETUC webpages

 

Europe: 150,000 have died from work cancer while EU evaluates ‘Better Regulation’

On April 28, European Trade unions will commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day – remembering the 150,000 people who have died in the EU from occupational cancers since the European Commission suspended work on legislation protecting workers from chemicals that cause cancer.

etuc3Every year 100,000 people in the EU die from occupational cancers.

In October 2013 the European Commission stopped developing exposure limits for chemicals that cause cancer because it is reviewing ‘red tape’ – with the result that only 3 cancer-causing chemicals have European exposure limits!

Now the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is demanding

  • Legally enforceable exposure limits for the for a priority list of the 50 most toxic chemicals for causing cancer, and for male and female fertility.
  • Progress on the revision of the Directive on Carcinogens and Mutagens at work to expand the number of chemicals with binding exposure limits

“Measures to protect workers from cancer and fertility difficulties, are being treated as ‘red tape’ and a so-called ‘unnecessary burden’ on industry” said Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. “It is shameful.”

“I am all in favour of ‘better regulation’ but this is treating human life like another line in the balance sheet, like the cost of raw materials or energy. The ETUC is calling on the European Commission agree legally binding exposure limits for 50 of the most harmful chemicals.”

“The Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans recently said that better regulation does not mean deregulation and lowering standards* so I hope he is willing to take action to protect workers from cancer.”

To mark International Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28:

  • ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol will be in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to meet President Schulz and European Employment Commissioner Thyssen amongst others
  • ETUC and Belgian trade unions will be at the entrance of the  European Commission’s Berlaymont HQ in Brussels at 12.30, following an 11.00 meeting with Belgian Vice Prime Minister Kris Peeters.
  • ETUC Deputy General Secretary Józef Niemiec will meet the Latvian EU Presidency with Latvian trade unions and European trade union health and safety experts at a health and safety conference in Riga.

For more information see: http://www.etuc.org/international-workers-memorial-day-28-april-2015  & https://28april.org/

*http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/timmermans/announcements/remarks-first-vice-president-frans-timmermans-better-regulation-businesseurope-day-26-march-2015_en

Europe: Unions say STOP treating protection from hazardous chemicals as “red tape”

For this 28th April, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) will run a highly visible action, focusing on the 100,000 people who die every year in the EU as a result of occupational cancers, as well as the 150,000 people who have died waiting for the EU to approve the Directive on Carcinogens and Mutagens at Work, held up since October 2013 by an EU review of ‘red tape’.

To mark the International Workers’ Memorial Day, the ETUC is planning to meet with Commissioners and MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and will participate in events in Belgium and Latvia.

ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol will meet European Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Employment Commissioner Thyssen in the European Parliament in Strasbourg .

ETUC 28 April webpages

The artwork below will be used at these events.

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Unions to meet with Belgian labour minister

The ETUC is to stage an event outside the European Commission HQ in Brussels and will joint with the Belgian trade unions to meet with the Belgian Minister of Labour.

ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol will meet European Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Employment Commissioner Thyssen in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

ETUC 28 April webpages

etuc1 etuc2 etuc3