Federal Minister Hartinger-Klein: Four times as many people die of occupational cancer than as a result of road traffic accidents
EU Conference: Fight against Occupational Cancer
Every year, 20 000 people in Austria die of cancer. An international study estimates that almost a tenth of these deaths (around 1 800) are attributable to work-related exposure to carcinogens, making them cases of occupational cancer. In Europe, more than 100 000 people a year die of occupational cancer.
This is the focus of the international, high-level Fight against Occupational Cancer Conference to be held on 24‑25 September 2018 in Vienna under the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference, which is co‑financed by the European Union, aims to contribute towards raising awareness about the risks posed by exposure to carcinogenic substances and to discuss measures to combat occupational cancer. A special highlight of the conference is the handover to Finland of the “Roadmap on Carcinogens: from Amsterdam to Vienna” – the voluntary action scheme aimed at fighting occupational cancer.
In comparison to the 1 800 deaths due to occupational cancer, in 2017 a total of 413 people lost their lives as a result of road traffic accidents in Austria. This means that in Austria more than four times as many people die of occupational cancer than as a result of road traffic accidents. The goal is thus to reduce the number of cases of occupational cancer in the long term and to prevent the occurrence of new cases.
It is high time to step up educational measures
One of the major challenges for Austria and for the whole of Europe is the fact that people are often not even aware of the risks they are exposed to at their workplace. Yet, it is only the spread of such knowledge that allows relevant protective measures to be put in place.
“As the responsible Federal Minister, I am very pleased indeed that as part of a large‑scale project the Austrian Labour Inspectorate informs companies, provides them with practical guidance and advises them on the implementation of relevant measures. The preventative work carried out in this regard by the Labour Inspectorate should not be underestimated”,
Federal Minister Beate Hartinger‑Klein said, emphasising the importance of preventative education.
The Fight against Occupational Cancer Conference is part of a range of activities being carried out at national and European level. These activities range from the specification of new exposure limits for carcinogenic substances to joint campaigns and the sharing of best practices. Bridges are being built linking current research into the potential risks of exposure to carcinogenic materials with the relevant legislation on how such risks are to be managed. It is also important that currently available knowledge is implemented in the workplace. An excellent example of an EU‑wide initiative is the European Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2018‑2019 – Manage Dangerous Substances, which was launched by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU‑OSHA) and is being conducted in all member states.
“Roadmap on Carcinogens: from Amsterdam to Vienna”
The launch of another key initiative was marked by the signing of the “Roadmap on Carcinogens: from Amsterdam to Vienna” in the Netherlands in 2016.
This voluntary action scheme aimed at fighting occupational cancer seeks to raise awareness of the dangers posed by carcinogens in the workplace and encourage the sharing of best practices.
“I am very proud that it has been possible to successfully extend the Roadmap beyond Vienna and to hand it over to Finland in a symbolic act. I regard this handover as a particular highlight of this conference”,
Federal Minister Beate Hartinger-Klein said in conclusion.
More information about this event can be found on the event page.