Workers’ exposure survey on cancer risk factors in Europe

With cancer accounting for an estimated 53 % of all work-related deaths in the EU and other developed countries, reliable data on workplace exposures to cancer risk factors are essential for both the safety and health of workers and a productive and sustainable economy.

EU-OSHA plans to implement a Workers’ exposure survey on cancer risk factors in Europe to better identify cancer risk factors responsible for most of the exposures. The survey also looks into the most prevalent exposure situations and the number and characteristics of the workers exposed to a range of cancer risk factors, including asbestos, benzene, chromium, diesel exhaust, nickel, silica dust, UV radiation, wood dust and others. The aim of the survey is to better target awareness-raising campaigns and preventive measures and to contribute to evidence-based policy-making.

A feasibility study on a survey to assess workers’ exposures to carcinogens, based on a successful Australian survey, was completed in 2017. Preparatory work starts in 2020 to scope the countries where the survey would be firstly carried out and initiate first steps for the preparation of the methodology and adaptation of the Australian model to the European context.

In 2021 and 2022, the survey will be developed and carried out and publication of first findings is planned for 2023. Following an evaluation in 2024, decisions will be made to expand the survey to more countries and additional risk factors.