Almost 200,000 people die every year from in the EU as a result of workplace diseases, illnesses and accidents.

There were estimated to be some 500,000 work-related cancer deaths between 2014 and 2019 – the lift time of the last European Parliament.

The number of workplace accidents are also on the rise across the continent, according to Eurostat.

When the last European elections were held in 2014, there were 2,408,412 workplace accidents recorded.

That number grew in 2015 and had reached 2,443,310 by 2016, which are the most recently published figures.

The number of workplace accidents was reduced in just 8 of the 28 member states – Bulgaria, Ireland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia.

Clearly not enough was done by the EU over the last five years to reduce workplace hazards.

Therefore, ahead of next month’s European elections, industriAll Europe is uniting with the European Trade Union Congress today in calling for specific legislation to protect workers:

  • Set a target of zero workplace cancer, and as a step towards that target set ‘binding occupational exposure limits’ for at least 50 cancer-causing substances (24 have been agreed by the current Parliament and Commission);

  • Introduce a Directive on stress at work to make all employers adopt initiatives to identify and prevent stress, and procedures to tackle stress;

  • Introduce a Directive to tackle back, knee and finger-joint (and other musculoskeletal) pain at work;

  • Launch a debate on preventing work-related road deaths and work-related suicide with a view to taking new measures in the lifetime of the new Parliament and Commission.

industriAll Europe General Secretary Luc Triangle said: 

On Workers Memorial Day each year trade unions remember the dead and fight for the living. The number of workers who lost their lives or were injured at work during the past five years is completely unacceptable. That’s why trade unions want to see new MEPs and European Commissioners make legislation to keep people safe at work an absolute priority and hope that our members vote for those candidates who will do that.