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On International Workers’ Memorial Day, EFFAT demands the next EU Parliament and Commission to put safety at the workplace high on the political agenda.

Almost two hundred thousand people die every year in the European Union as a result of workplace diseases, illnesses and accidents.

The reality is much worse – there is massive under reporting by employers, and when a worker is killed by their work it harms whole families.

As the European elections are only one month away, EFFAT speaks with one voice with the European trade union movement calling for:

  • 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);
  • a Directive on stress at work to make all employers adopt initiatives to identify and prevent stress, and procedures to tackle stress;
  • a new Directive to tackle back, knee and finger-joint (and other musculoskeletal) pain at work;
  • the launch of 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.

Commenting on International Workers’ Memorial Day, Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT’s General Secretary said: ‘Today the trade union movement stand united honouring all those who lost their lives at work and hoping for a new Europe with no work-related deaths’.

Representing agricultural workers, EFFAT is well aware that fatal accidents in agriculture are three times higher than the average of all the other sectors. Alongside , housekeepers and domestic workers know well the distress of millions of workers in these fields suffering from musculoskeletal pain – like back, knee and other pain in people’s tendons, joints, muscles and bones.

April 28 is the day trade unionists throughout the world ‘remember the dead and fight for the living’ and press decision-makers and employers on the need to work with trade unions to stop workplace fatalities, injuries and disease.