A cancer free work environment

Intro/setting and problem

In April 2016 the FNV (Dutch Federal Trade Union) has started a project called “Carcinogenic Substances”, in order to tackle the risks of carcinogenic substances at work. During this project the FNV collaborates with the CNV (National Christian Trade Union). The ultimate goal of the project is to entirely eliminate work-related cancer.


The unions have developed a website which has become a central place for employees and employers to gather information about working with carcinogenic substances. Moreover, the website contains checklists where you can see if you are working with carcinogenic substances, if you are working with those substances in a safe way, and what are possible changes in order to improve the situation.


With the gathered information the employees are able to have a conversation with their employer about the use of carcinogenic substances in their work environment. Awareness about carcinogenic substances and the work environment increases, and employees feel they are in control.
On the other hand, the information that employees get about the use and the control of the risks of carcinogenic substances is very valuable for the unions too. The practical experience of employees can be used in advising the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment about limit values. The information given by employees can assist by determining for example what the lowest concentration of a carcinogenic substance is, when all recent and technically possible measures are executed.

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Wim van Veelen
the Netherlands