How the EU improves workers’ health and safety

MEUSAC article published in Voice of the Workers Weekly – 09.12.2020

Every EU worker has certain minimum rights relating to working conditions specifically related to health and safety at the workplace. The EU adopts legislation in the field of health and safety at work to complement and support the activities of Member States. Individual Member States must make sure that their national laws protect these rights laid down by EU Directives.

The Framework Directive on measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers sets general principles related to minimum requirements. It applies to nearly all sectors of public and private activity and defines obligations for employers and employees.

Additionally, there are specific rules covering exposure to dangerous substances, groups of workers such as pregnant women and young workers, specific tasks such as the manual handling of loads and workplaces such as fishing vessels.

For example, cancer is a major health issue as referred to in the Treaties, which gives the EU the competence to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States for the protection and improvement of human health. The directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to carcinogens or mutagens at work is updated regularly, setting exposure limits for specific substances.

« Back