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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd


Focus Archive

Communicating information about dangerous substances
European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2003

August 2003

The theme for this year's European Week for Safety and Health is the prevention of risks from dangerous substances. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work along with all the Member States and also those countries that are joining the Union are mounting a major campaign to make people aware of the risks to their health when they work with dangerous substances. This is the first pan-European campaign to reduce the risks of chemicals, biological agents and other dangerous substances at work - hazards that affect around a quarter of the EU's 150 million employees. Cancers, asthmas and neuropsychiatric problems are just of the illnesses that can be caused by the 100, 000 chemical marketed in the EU, as well as biological agents.

Effective communication about the risks is a challenge for employers, workers, their representatives and management.

The EU regulations on classification and labeling set the frame for obligations of producers of chemical substances. They determine important information to be provided in a standardised way in safety labels, risk symbols and safety data sheets. The Council Directive 98/24/EEC of 7 April 1998 on the protection of the health and safety of workers fro risks related to chemical agents at work specifies that employers shall obtain additional information that is needed for risk assessment from the supplier and/or other readily available sources. The employers also have to ensure that the workers and/or their representatives are informed and trained on:

Where to get help

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has produced a range of publications to support the week, including:

FACTS 35 gives two very useful checklists

  1. Checklist for information for workers and
  2. Checklist for good communication between the employer and the workers

For general information about the Week visit the dedicated multilingual website As well as providing up-to-date information on the European Week campaign, it gives easy access to a wealth of occupational health and safety information on the Agency main website:

For other useful sources visit the following:

Finally using the portal and going to the subject and country links will lead you easily to other validated and authoritative sources of chemical information and data sheets.

Make sure your workplace gets involved in the European Week in October 2003!