PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR SOCIAL DIALOGUE, CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES – Protecting workers from carcinogens

Addressing a conference on threats of carcinogens at the work place organised by the European Trade Union Institute and the General Workers Union, Minister Helena Dalli spoke about the need for action to protect workers and their families from exposure to carcinogenic chemical agents at work which can lead to different forms of cancer.

Minister Dalli remarked that 53% of annual occupational deaths are attributed to cancer, compared to 28% for circulatory diseases, and 6% for respiratory diseases.

Dr Dalli quoted a 2016 report by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment which shows that the amount of people who died in 2012 as a result of work-related cancer varied between 57,000 and 106,000.

This means that every hour in the EU, between 7 and 12 people die of cancer because of past exposure to carcinogenic substances at work, added Minister Dalli.

The Minister spoke about the way the EU Commission is tackling the issue of carcinogens, with particular focus on the work that is being carried out on the matter during the Maltese Presidency.

Dr Dalli emphasised that carcinogens cannot be taken lightly and called for immediate action in light of any emerging evidence that requires incisive action to be taken in the interests of Europe’s workforce.

The conference which was organised with the support of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) was also addressed by University Rector Prof Alfred Vella and by OHSA CEO Dr Mark Gauci.

Source: Government of Malta