PositionMembers of European Parliament

In an own-initiative report adopted on 18 December (38 votes in favour and two against), the European Parliament's Employment Committee approved the European Health and Security Strategy presented by the European Commission for the 2007-2012 period. The committee considers the strategy to be too modest. MEPs suggest that, in addition to the Commission's objective of reducing by 25% the number of accidents at work in the EU, "similar, equally ambitious objectives to reduce professional diseases and cancer" should be added.

The report therefore proposes transforming the European recommendation concerning professional diseases into a directive establishing minimum stipulations. It also criticises the Commission for failing to propose an amendment of the Directive on exposure to biological agents at work in order to protect members of medical staff against the risks of blood contamination due to needles.

MEPs underline the need to identify and monitor new and emerging risks, for example nanotechnologies and psychosocial risks. Member states should develop national action plans to eliminate asbestos, including the obligation to detect asbestos in buildings. "We need a new European legislation to face the new risks and make up for the shortcomings of the existing regulation," explained the rapporteur, Glennis Willmott (PES, United Kingdom). "In particular, new limiting values must be introduced against cancer-causing...

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