2018-19 @EU_OSHA´s campaign: healthy workplaces manage dangerous substances

This post is also available in: Spanish

12Last month of April was officially launched the new 2018-19 Healthy Workplaces Campaign of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) which, under the slogan “Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances” aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by dangerous substances in the workplace and to promote a culture of risk prevention2

With the summer season coming to an end, the HW Campaign starts a bold phase in activities all along Europe which, along with the rest of tools, publications or collaborative schemes, make the biannual EU-OSHA´s campaigns a top world-class event in the field of Occupational Safety and Health.

Rationale for a campaign focused on dangerous substances2

Despite a great deal of legislation aimed at protecting workers from dangerous substances, they continue to pose major workplace safety and health risks.

Workers are exposed to dangerous substances in many European workplaces. Such exposures are more common than most people realise and, in fact, may occur in almost all workplaces. This presents major safety and health concerns.

A dangerous substance is any solid, liquid or gas that has the potential to cause damage to the safety or health of workers. Exposure can occur through inhalation, skin penetration or ingestion 3

Workplace exposures to dangerous substances are linked to acute and long-term health issues, including:

  • respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma, rhinitis, asbestosis and silicosis)
  • harm to inner organs, including the brain and the nervous system
  • skin irritation and diseases
  • occupational cancers (e.g. leukaemia, lung cancer, mesothelioma and cancer of the nasal cavity).

In addition, the presence of dangerous substances can put workers at risk of fire, explosion, acute poisoning and suffocation.

EU-OSHA’s second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2) reveals that dangerous substances are most prevalent in certain sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing and construction1

However, workers in all sectors are potentially at risk of exposure to dangerous substances. In fact, overall, 38 % of European enterprises report potentially dangerous chemical or biological substances in their workplaces. Therefore, it is vital that the risks are identified and managed.

By working together, management and workers can build a strong risk prevention culture in which substitution is part of prevention and protection routines. A complete risk assessment is a key step in the process2

Campaign´s key dates2

  • EU partnership meeting: March 2018
  • Campaign launch and Launch of Good practice Awards: April 2018
  • European Week for Safety and Health at Work: October 2018
  • Healthy Workplaces Film Award: November 2018
  • Good Practice Exchange event: 2nd quarter 2019
  • European Week for Safety and Health at Work: October 2019
  • Healthy Workplaces Film Award: November 2019
  • Healthy Workplaces Summit and Good Practice Awards Ceremony: November 2019

As happens since some years (2012-13), this blog will again collaborate as a media partner of this Agency´s Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances campaign by disseminating related contents by relevant organisations via the Aragon Valley´s Internet channels (this blog, Twitter, Facebook), drafting original articles, creating contents and participating in specific events.

Bibliography

1.
European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. https://osha.europa.eu/en/surveys-and-statistics-osh/esener. Accessed September 4, 2018.
2.
2018–19 Campaign: Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. 2018–19 Campaign: Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances. Accessed September 4, 2018.
3.
Dangerous substances (chemical and biological). OSH Wiki. https://oshwiki.eu/wiki/Dangerous_substances_(chemical_and_biological). Accessed September 4, 2018. [Source]

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