Statement by Workers and Trade Unions on Special Programme and its ToR and Omnibus Decision on Chemicals and Waste

Workers and Trade unions Major Group (2014-03)

The impact of chemicals and hazardous waste is a serious health and environmental challenge in the world of work. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates (conservative estimates) that globally approximately 4 MILLION workers are poisoned annually. Why are workers more uniquely vulnerable? It is because workers are involved in all stages in the life cycle of chemicals. First, unlike other vulnerable groups they directly participate in the designing, research and manufacturing of new chemical substances. Due to this unique role, Workers and their families have always become frontline victims of many globally re-known workplace chemical accidents. Second, workers have no choice on what chemicals to use in their workplace. Most often than not, the choice is in the hand of their employers. Third, is the ‘double’ exposure at work and at home.