In an episode of ‘Real Economy’, Euronews published the video ‘Occupational cancer – how to minimise risks’. In this video, we discover the economical impact of work-related ill-health and injury. We see which measures are taken by a Croatian lumber factory and EU-OSHA director Christa Sedlatschek shares the measures taken by the EU.
Estimated costs of work-related health issues
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) estimates the costs for the EU about 476 billion euro a year (2017 figures), or around 3.3% of EU GDP. The direct costs of exposure to carcinogens at work across Europe are estimated at €2.4 billion per year.
Example: wood dust
Euronews interviews a lumber factory managerin Croatia about the precautions the firm has taken. Wood dust, when inhaled, can cause irritation as well as skin and respiratory diseases. In cases of prolonged exposure, it can cause cancer. With 3 million workers being exposed to this substance across the EU, it’s carcinogenic effect could affect a great deal of people.
Has the EU solved the problem?
The European Pillar of Social Rights – the set of principles that help improve working and living conditions in the EU – states clearly: “Workers across the European Union have the right to a high level of protection of their health and safety at work”. In the video, Christa Sedlatschek, director of EU-OSHA, identifies the sectors that have high exposure to carcinogens: welding, construction due to asbestos and silica dust, as well as nursing and hairdressing. She shows some measures that companies, big and small, can take to improve the health and safety of their workers.