This April 28th blog post was noted today in the May 2014 European Agency for Safety and Health eNewsletter I received today.
World Day 2014: Safety and Health in the Use of Chemicals at Work
April 28, 2014
Excerpts (the web link above gets you to the full text):
Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work is the theme for the ILO World Day for safety and health at work in 2014, celebrated on April 28.
Chemicals are essential for modern life, but can be a danger to workers. Some of these dangers are well known, others less so. Ideally, the exposure of workers to dangerous substances should be eliminated, but often chemicals have to be managed in the workplace, just like any workplace hazard, to reduce the risk to workers.
The impact of chemical exposures on workers' health is enormous. While the calculation of the numbers harmed by chemicals is difficult (for example because of latency periods between exposure to the chemical and developing ill-health), it is estimated that in 2004 there were 4 900 000 deaths attributable to environmental exposure and management of selected chemicals. This figure includes both occupational and non-occupational exposures such as indoor smoke from solid fuel use.
The European Union has a legal framework for the prevention of harm to workers from chemicals. EU Directives are transposed into law in every Member State to establish a common framework and minimum standards.
At EU-OSHA, there is a large collection of information on the dangers of chemicals and the prevention of harm to workers. Some of the work focuses on cutting edge topics such as nanotechonologies, other materials consider how specific groups and sectors may be affected.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work is working with its tripartite partners to ensure the safe use of chemicals across Europe, maintaining the benefits acheived through the production and use of chemicals while minimising worker exposures and supporting the developmen of global and European comprehensive approaches in this complex work area.
Pertti (Bert) J. Hakkinen, Ph.D.
Acting Head, Office of Clinical Toxicology
Specialized Information Services
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
United States Department of Health and Human Services
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 510
Bethesda, MD 20892 USA
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