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Health and Safety – European Commission launches initiative to better protect the health and safety of workers

The European Commission has recently launched a new initiative to better protect workers against work-related cancer, to help businesses, in particular SME’s and micro-enterprises, in their efforts to comply with the existing legislative framework, and to put a bigger focus on results and less on paperwork. Following up on its commitment to continue to improve occupational health and safety, the Commission will undertake the following key actions:

  • Set exposure limits or other measures for another seven cancer-causing chemicals. This proposal will not only benefit workers’ health, but also sets a clear objective for employers and enforcement authorities to avoid exposure.
  • Help businesses, notably small and micro enterprises, in their efforts to comply with health and safety rules. In particular, evidence shows that 1 in 3 micro enterprises does not assess workplace risks. Today, we therefore published a guidance paper for employers with practical tips aimed at facilitating their risk assessment and at making it more effective. It includes advice on how to deal with rapidly increasing OSH risks such as psychosocial, ergonomic or ageing related-risks. We also aim to increase the availability of free online tools that help small and microenterprises in conducting risk assessments.
  • The Commission will work with Member States and social partners to remove or update outdated rules within the next two years. The aim is to simplify and reduce administrative burden, while maintaining workers’ protection. This modernisation should also support better enforcement on the ground.

A full copy of the Commission press release is available to view here.http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-2_en.htm

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