EPP: End dark legacy of workers’ exposure to asbestos

EPP: End dark legacy of workers’ exposure to asbestos

EP-148525D_Plenary_19_Topical debate

The EPP Group will today vote in favour of new measures to reduce asbestos in the workplace.

“The time has come to rid ourselves of the dark legacy of workplace asbestos exposure once and for all. We must not cut corners when it comes to protecting the health of our workers. As the EPP Group, we want a strong EU response to tackling asbestos exposure in the workplace; anything less would be negligence”, said Cindy Franssen MEP, the EPP Group’s negotiator on the revision of the Asbestos at Work Directive.

After the vote on the law proposal in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee today, it will directly go to negotiations with the EU Member States, unless today’s vote is challenged by the plenary of the European Parliament.

Although all forms of asbestos have been banned in Europe since 2005, asbestos remains present in many older buildings across the continent and is the primary cause of work-related cancers. In 2019 alone, more than 70,000 people in the EU died from past exposure to asbestos at work. For the EPP Group, beating cancer has always been a top priority. “By acting now, we are standing up for all those affected and literally saving lives”, stressed Franssen.

“With a tough stance on asbestos exposure, we will safeguard all workers. Extra training and protective measures for workers, firefighters and emergency services will also reduce threats posed by asbestos. At the same time, we are making sure that all businesses and employers will be able to reach this ambitious level in practice by giving them a sufficient transitional period. A proper implementation is a win-win situation for both workers and employers”, Franssen explained.

SMEs and microenterprises in particular will receive administrative and technical support as well as EU funding and guidance to manage this necessary transition in the best way possible.


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