Manifesto "Zero Death At Work"


People go to work to make a living – to provide for themselves, their family and their loved ones.

Every working day across the European Union twelve working people do not come home from work - because they have died at work. Far from earning a living, work has killed them, and their families suffer emotionally, financially and in many other ways.

Today on International Workers Memorial Day – when we remember those killed or injured at work – we urge the European Union, member state governments and employers to bring an end to deaths at work. We call for zero death at work.

Zero death at work is not a utopian dream. The trend in fatal workplace accidents is down and eradication of fatal accidents is achievable.

But while fatal accidents are declining, occupational diseases are increasing. Some 100,000 workers die every year from occupational cancer due to exposure to hazardous substances. Long working hours and psychological pressure at work cause heart-disease, stroke, depression, and suicide. Bad posture, repetitive movement and heavy lifting cause backpain and other ‘musculoskeletal’ disorders and in turn cause depression and people being unable to work.

New challenges for health and safety are posed by extreme weather and temperatures from climate change, and new forms of work away from the traditional workplace such as rapidly increasing work from home and platform work. COVID has shown that the workplace is a major source of contagion, has led to the death of many thousands of workers, and we must be better prepared in work and elsewhere for future pandemics.

The EU’s current health and safety strategy says “All efforts must be deployed to reduce work-related deaths as much as possible, in line with a Vision Zero approach to work-related deaths”. This is good, but the actions promised in it will not achieve zero deaths.

We call on the European Union, its member state governments, and employers to genuinely commit, and take the actions needed, to achieve zero death at work. Europe needs much more to “walk the walk” than “talk the talk”.

This means a concerted joined-up effort to

  • Prevent workplace accidents and occupational diseases, stopping exposure to hazardous including cancer-causing substances and be ready for pandemic
  • Make physical and mental health of workers the point of departure when organizing work and designing the workplace.

This will require action at EU, national, sectoral and company level, with legislative as well as other initiatives involving trade unions and employers: including increased education, training, monitoring, prevention, protection, reporting, inspection, enforcement and penalties.

We expect and demand such action to be delivered by the next European Commission and European Parliament from 2024, in addition to the legislative action to be taken by the Commission in the current term. Zero deaths by 2030.


Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy and Labour, Belgium

Marius Budai, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Romania

Johan Danielsson, Minister for Housing and Deputy Minister for Employment, Sweden

Georges Engel, Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, Luxembourg

Ana Mendes Godinho, Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal

Claude Haagen, Minister of Social Security, Luxembourg

Eva Nordmark, Minister for Employment, Sweden

Andrea Orlando, Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Italy

Madalin-Cristian Vasilcoiu, State Secretary to the Minister for Labour and Solidarity Protection, Romania


Dennis Radtke MEP, Group of the European People's Party, Germany

Agnes Jongerius MEP, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, The Netherlands

Lucia Duriš Nicholsonová MEP, Renew Europe Group, Slovakia

Sara Matthieu MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Belgium

Nikolaj Villumsen MEP, The Left group in the European Parliament, Denmark

Heléne Fritzon, MEP, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Sweden

Marianne Vind MEP, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Denmark


Pepe Álvarez, General Secretary, UGT, Spain

Thierry Bodson, President, ABVV/FGTB, Belgium 

Petra Bolster, International Secretary and General Board member, FNV, Netherlands

PierPaolo Bombardieri, General Secretary, UIL, Italy

Csaba Csóti, President, SZEF, Hungary

Plamen Dimitrov, President, CITUB, Bulgaria

Susan Flocken, European Director, ETUCE - CSEE

Susanna Gideonsson, President, Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO), Sweden

Nayla Glaise, President, Eurocadres

Reiner Hoffmann, President, DGB, Germany

Lidija Jerkič, President, ZSSS, Slovenia

Wolfgang Katzian, President, OEGB, Austria

Srdja Kekovic, Secretary General, Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro

Patricia King, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Ireland

Maurizio Landini, General Secretary, CGIL, Italy

Melinda Mészáros, President of LIGA, Democratic League of Independent Trade Unions, Hungary

Fraces O’Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress, UK

Marián Magdoško, President, KOZ SR, Slovakia

Mladen Novosel, president, Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC)

Diana Raitelaitienė, President, Lithuanian Federation of Forest and Wood Workers Trade Unions, and member of the Commission on Safety and Health at Work of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania

Vilim Ribić, President, Matica – Association of Croatian Trade Unions (MHS)

Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary, UNI Europa 

Oliver Röpke, President, EESC Workers' Group

Marie-Hélène Ska, General Secretary, CSC, Belgium

Luigi Sbarra, General Secretary, CISL, Italy

Carol Scheffer, Chair of UNI Europa Women’s Committee

Krešimir Sever, President, Independent Trade Unions of Croatia (NHS)

Morten Skov Christiansen, Vice-president, Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, Denmark

Unai Sordo Calvo, General Secretary, CCOO, Spain

Livia Spera, General Secretary, ETF

Claes-Mikael Stahl, Deputy General Secretary, ETUC

Miranda Ulens, General Secretary, ABVV/FGTB, Belgium

Olivier Valentin, National Secretary, CGSLB/ACLVB

Luca Visentini, General Secretary, ETUC

Róbert Zlati, President, MASZSZ, Hungarian Trade Union Confederation


Collegium Ramazzini, Italy

The Society of Occupational Medicine, UK

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, UK

Professor Dr Alex Burdorf, Editor-in-Chief, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health

François Desriaux, Editor-in-Chief, Santé et Travail, France

Dr. Maja Metelko, Editor-in-Chief, ‘Delo in varnost’, Journal of Occupational Health and Fire Safety, Slovenia 

Herbert Mulligan, Editor, Health & Safety Review, Ireland

Professor Rory O’Neil, Editor, Hazards Magazine, UK

Raymond Agius, Professor (Emeritus) of Occupational and Environmental Medicine,University of Manchester, UK

Maria Albin, Professor and Senior Consultant, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Alain Bobbio, National Secretary, ANDEVA (Association Nationale de Défense des Victimes de l'Amiante), France

Gábor Borhidi, Executive officer of the Hungarian National Commission for Occupational Health and Safety, Hungary

Bernard Dugué, Enseignant-chercheur en ergonomie, Bordeaux-INP, France

Bengt Järvholm, Senior Professor, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University

Antti Koivula, Director General, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland

Darko Palačić PhD, College of Occupational Safety and Health, Croatia

Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine, UK

Dimosthenis A. Sarigiannis, Professor in Environment and Health, University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Simon Schnabl, Head of the Department of Occupational, Process and Fire Safety, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Dr Jukka Takala, Past President, Board member, International Commission of Occupational Health, Finland