Workers’ exposure survey on cancer risk factors in Europe

EU-OSHA’s Workers’ exposure survey on cancer risk factors in Europe looks at how European workers are exposed to a selection of cancer risk factors. Thousands of workers across six countries are asked to respond to questions focusing on their daily tasks and tailored to their current job.

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 is conducting 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.

The survey also seeks to provide information that could contribute to updating EU legislation, where appropriate, to improve the protection against dangerous substances and fight occupational cancer, in particular as regards the preparation of possible future amendment proposals of the Carcinogens, Mutagens and Reprotoxic substances Directive.

In addition, this survey is expected to contribute to the OSH actions of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and to support one of the key objective of the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 on improving prevention of work-related diseases, in particular cancer.

Read the project overview on the survey

Survey phases


feasibility study on a survey to assess workers’ exposures to carcinogens, based on a successful Australian survey using an innovative tool to assess occupational exposure (Occupational Integrated Database Exposure Assessment System, OccIDEAS), was completed.


Preparatory work started 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, using the same application as in the Australian survey (OccIDEAS).

2021 and 2022

The survey has been developed, adapted and translated. A pilot test was carried out in spring 2022. The survey is on the field from September 2022 until January 2023 in six EU Member States: Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Spain. Trained interviewers will call workers on their mobile phone in order to complete almost 25,000 questionnaires.

2023 and 2024

Publication of first findings is planned for end 2023. EU-OSHA will also publish a report describing the innovative methodology. The results from the survey will be complemented by secondary analyses involving in-depth studies on specific topics. Following an evaluation, decisions will be made to expand the survey to more countries and additional risk factors.