Occupational Hygiene Posts

Vulnerable Workers and Dangerous Substances Fact Sheet

Updated: Jan 9

Key Points

• Workplace risk assessment and prevention measures for dangerous substances need to target groups of workers with specific needs and higher levels of risk.

• The risks might be greater because these workers are inexperienced, uninformed or physically more vulnerable, because they frequently change jobs or work in sectors where awareness of the issue is low, or because of greater or different physiological sensitivity (e.g. in young apprentices, or because of differences between men and women).

• Specific groups that need to be considered are young workers and those new to the job, maintenance workers, migrant workers, subcontracted workers, workers with medical conditions, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and workers in service sectors with a low level of awareness, which are often female dominated sectors.

• Workers conducting work at different sites can encounter a range of dangerous substances. A coordinated approach between the worker’s manager and the managers of the premises is needed. Communication of relevant information between these parties, including the workers themselves, is of great importance.

• Employers should check their national legislation, so that they know the precise requirements regarding safety and health at work, prohibitions on types of work, the ages at which children may work, limitations and authorisation requirements.

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