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Dangerous substances at work
Published:  27 April, 2018

A Europe-wide campaign launched this week to raise awareness on dangerous substances includes an e-tool, database, case studies, infographics and animated films.

The campaign by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) marks the start of two years of events and activities promoting the best ways of tackling the risks that dangerous substances pose to workers.

Set up by the European Union and based in Bilbao, Spain, EU-OSHA brings together representatives from the European Commission, member state governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts.

Dr Christa Sedlatschek, EU-OSHA’s Director, commented: ‘Many workers are unaware that not only manufactured chemical products that are labelled with risk and safety information can cause harm. Other commonly used substances across all sectors – from working with flour in bakeries to silica dust on construction sites – can be hazardous if their use is not managed effectively. Therefore, our campaign raises awareness of all types of dangerous substances, not just the obvious ones, and emphasises the importance of risk assessment in all sectors as the first step towards prevention.’

An e-tool has been introduced to help companies find and reduce the safety and health hazards associated with dangerous substances and chemical products in workplaces within their company. Available in English and accessible in three country versions (Austria, Estonia and Romania), it can be found by clicking here. 

To help companies carry out risk assessments, a database has also been created of around 700 practical tools and guidance documents from 11 EU member states. The documents cover both specific scenarios, such as pumping liquids and welding; specific groups of substances such as sensitisers; as well as typical risks in specific sectors. Practical solutions for reducing risk are also available. The database is found here. 

A cartoon character (shown above) has been created to explain the basic principles of occupational safety and health (OSH) in an informal, language-free way. To see Napo in a variety of work situations, click here.

More information about the campaign can be found at https://healthy-workplaces.eu/