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Chemical substances at work: facing up to the challenges
At the beginning of 2009 the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) published the report “Expert forecast on emerging chemical risks related to occupational safety and health”. This was the last of a series of four European Risk Observatory reports dedicated to expert forecasts of emerging risks, the three previous reports having focused on physical, biological and psychosocial risks. A seminar was organised in Brussels on 2nd and 3rd March 2009 to consolidate the findings of the study with policy makers, social partners and stakeholders, and to discuss priorities for further research and actions, concrete ways of tackling the risks, and how the participants thought that EU-OSHA could help in this matter - similarly to the seminars on emerging biological risks (see "Occupational risks from biological agents: Facing up to the challenges" in section "Our events") held in 2007 and on emerging psychosocial risks (see "Emerging psychosocial risks") in 2008. A series of short presentations, focusing on the main issues identified in the forecast, were made to trigger discussion. On the basis of the presentations and subsequent discussions, participants were invited to propose priorities and actions. Some 30 participants and representatives attended the workshop from the European Commission (Directorates General Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (DG-EMPL), Health and Consumers (DG-SANCO), and Environment (DG-ENV)), European Social Partners (the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), national experts and major OSH research institutions. The European Agency would like to thank all the participants for their valuable comments and opinions.
FOD Werkgelegenheid, Arbeid en Social Overleg (FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue) 1, Ernest Blerotstraat Brussels, Belgium