TUC calls for tightening up of EU health and safety standards

TUC calls for tightening up of EU health and safety standards

Tough new health and safety standards are needed across Europe to tackle
workplace injuries, sickness absence, stress and repetitive strain injury, the
TUC has said.

It is also calling for the European Commission to reverse an 80 per cent cut
in health and safety staff that has left just 24 people running the European
Union’s health and safety system.

The TUC’s demands came in a briefing to MEPs ahead of European Parliament
hearings in June on a new EU strategy on health and safety at work.

Tougher health and safety standards could help new industries such genetics
and biotechnology develop.

But without such protections, the public would reject the new technologies,
warned the TUC.

It called for tougher laws on stress and RSI, including extending the existing
manual handling directive to cover repetitive handling of smaller loads.

Other demands included:

– setting a clear timetable for proposed negotiations between employers and
unions on stress so that if agreement is not in prospect, legal protections can
be introduced

– EU-wide targets for the reduction of fatal and serious workplace injuries,
occupational illness and the resulting sickness absence with supporting targets
in sectors and regions

– a fully costed action plan for implementing the health and safety strategy
over the next four years

– doubling the number of staff working on health and safety

– action to ensure gender sensitive approaches to health and safety are
developed with legal protections for older workers

– creating a properly funded ‘new risks observatory’ at the European Agency
for Safety and Health to look at how to prevent new risks harming workers.


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