European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

Better protection for outdoor workers against skin cancer!

21/04/2016
EFBWW and EFFAT represent European trade unions and workers in the Building, Agricul-ture, Forestry, Horticulture and Tourism sectors – therefore employees who spend most of their working day outside, under the sun.
 
These working conditions cause heat injuries and skin cancers.
However, as a consequence of the EU regulations in Member States, skin cancers that are caused by working conditions are generally not considered and reimbursed as occupational diseases. This flawed system must be changed.
 
Light skin cancer, in particular, is a frequent consequence of unprotected work under the sun. If this cancer is not detected early, it can lead to death.
 
Trade unions are advocating for a change in behaviour and in operating procedures inside companies in order to reduce workers’ exposure to the sun.
Social partners are actively trying to improve the workers’ protection in social insurances, prevention institutes and dedicated companies.
Some good examples which aim at the protection of workers’ against unhealthy working conditions include the supports shown to the campaign launched by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work OSHA, the dissemination of information to the people con-cerned, and the provision of resources.
 
Europe must also assume its responsibility, and:
  • Include natural UV-Radiation in the Directive 2006/25;
  • Recognise different kinds of skin cancer caused by exposure to natural UV-Radiation;
  • Transform the EU-Recommendation 2003/670 into a minimal directive,
  •  Coordinate better diagnosis and health surveillance – including after the end of professional activities,
  • Actively support social partners in their preventive efforts.

If all the parties concerned fulfil their responsibility, millions of workers in our sectors will no longer fall victim of dangerous working conditions.

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.