Roadmap on carcinogens

Taking action on work-related cancer

Cancer is estimated to be the leading cause of work-related deaths in the EU. It is clear that more can be done to reduce the number of cases of occupational cancer, and that’s why, on 25 May 2016, six European organisations signed a covenant committing them to a voluntary action scheme to raise awareness of the risks arising from exposures to carcinogens in the workplace and exchange good practices.

The partners were:

The covenant was renewed on 28 November 2019 and was signed by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health  and the German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs , who thanked Austria and the Netherlands for their commitment, in addition to the four European partners (European Commission, EU-OSHA, ETUC and Business Europe).

At the German Presidency conference ‘STOP cancer in the workplace’ on 9 and 10 November 2020, organised by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), the roadmap partners presented a new strategy 2020-2024.

Strategy 2020-2024

For the period from 2020-2024 the following four goals are established:

  • Creating awareness among businesses and workers on the risks of exposure to carcinogenic substances and the need for preventive actions throughout Europe.
  • Providing help to businesses and workers in preventing exposure to carcinogens on the work floor and minimising their effects on the workforce.
  • Mobilising stakeholders and increasing the involvement of relevant parties to multiply efforts throughout Europe.
  • Targeting innovation to bridge the gap between research findings and businesses’ needs.

Taking part in the roadmap

The roadmap partners agreed that from 2021 onwards they would engage in several activities to gain further impact, all to help prevent workers´ exposure to carcinogens. These so called 'challenges' will all contribute in reaching the four main goals. The challenges are lead and executed by small teams of roadmap partners. However, they need input from others to succeed. In addition to the eight partners mentioned above, several countries will join activities. Organisations from all over Europe are also invited to join one or more of these challenges and help completing them.

To submit your initiative please visit 

The way forward

EU-OSHA is helping to promote the scheme and will support the partners in organising events to raise awareness and assess progress. The scheme sets out a programme of actions that will involve various EU Council Presidencies. EU-OSHA will help organise and promote these events and the activities of the roadmap.

Further information

Consult the Roadmap for full details of the planned joint efforts to reduce occupational cancer.

OSHwiki  features related articles on:

Visit our webpage on EU-OSHA´s workers´survey on cancer risk factors

EU-OSHA roadmap event - A+A - 28 October 2021

Proceedings of the Slovenian Presidency conference on the protection hospital workers from occupational risks related to carcinogens, 3 September 2021

Proceedings and recording of the Portuguese Presidency conference, 24 March 2021  

Proceedings of the German Presidency conference, 9-10 November 2020 and conference summary

Proceedings of the Finnish EU Presidency Conference, 27-28 November 2019

EU-OSHA roadmap event - A+A 18 October 2017 – Seminar online summary

Proceedings of the Amsterdam Conference on work-related cancer, 23-25 May 2016

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan