Why is it so important to manage dangerous substances at work?
An unacceptable number of workers are exposed to dangerous substances at work throughout Europe.
Dangerous substances cause a substantial proportion of occupational diseases, which have a negative impact on workers’ quality of life and ability to work, and in some cases can be fatal. This, along with occupational accidents caused by dangerous substances, results in significant costs to businesses.
Despite this, there is a general lack of awareness of the nature and abundance of dangerous substances at work and the risks they pose, and there has been little or no progress in reducing workers’ exposure in recent years. According to the European Survey on Working Conditions, the proportion of workers that report being exposed to chemicals for at least a quarter of their working time has not changed since 2000, remaining at around 17 %.
Workplace exposure to dangerous substances must be eliminated or at least effectively managed to ensure the safety and health of workers and the economic success of businesses and society.