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Introduction

The shift in the EU economy as a consequence of the green and digital transition is bringing changes in the labour market, creating new jobs, redefining others and highlighting the importance of existing jobs such as waste sorting. Broadly speaking, these jobs can be described as green jobs, i.e. jobs that contribute to a better environment. Green jobs can be found in a wide range of sectors covering a variety of professional activities and involving a diverse workforce. While green jobs may offer many benefits, some of these jobs are confronted with poor working conditions and low job quality. One of the most significant challenges is the impact they can have on occupational safety and health (OSH).

What are green jobs?

In the literature, there is currently no universally accepted definition of green jobs[1] but in general green jobs can be understood as jobs contributing, in some way, to the preservation or restoration of the environment. They can include jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity, or reduce consumption of energy and raw materials, reduce waste and pollution[2]. Examples include jobs related to:  

  • renewable energy: manufacture, installation, and maintenance of solar panels and wind turbines, biomass energy, hydroelectric power; 
  • waste management, waste recycling, wastewater treatment: waste sorting, recycling, composting, waste-to-energy activities, water conservation and wastewater treatment; 
  • green construction: energy-efficient building design and construction, insulation, green roofs, energy auditing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) optimisation;
  • sustainable transport: manufacturing and installing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, providing bicycle infrastructure such as bicycle lane networks, public transport optimisation; 
  • sustainable agriculture: jobs in organic farming, sustainable food distribution and marketing.

Within the framework of the 'The Green Jobs Initiative' launched by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2008, green jobs are defined as "positions in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance, as well as scientific and technical, administrative, and service-related activities, that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high-efficiency and avoidance strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution"[3].

According to the ILO green jobs can also be viewed from two perspectives, 1) final output or 2) the production processes. From an output perspective, green jobs generate goods or provide services that are beneficial to the environment, e.g. green buildings, clean transportation or solar-powered heating systems. However, these green outputs (products and services) are not always based on green production processes and technologies. On the other hand, jobs can be green when they contribute to more environmentally friendly processes, e.g. by reducing water consumption or air pollution, or improving recycling. But, these green jobs, defined in terms of production processes, do not necessarily lead to environmentally friendly final goods or services[4]

The ILO also broadens the definition of a green job by stating that a job can only be considered green if it also meets the characteristics of 'decent work'.  According to the ILO green jobs are "decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency"[4]. Some researchers refer to such green decent jobs as 'green collar jobs'[5]. The EU-OSHA foresight report on green jobs[5] emphasises that, from an OSH perspective, it is important to consider the potential risks to workers’ safety and health emerging from green jobs. The primary focus of EU-OSHA foresight was to explore the risks to workers working with or directly affected by new technologies or new working processes within green jobs (“white collar” jobs in a green industry, for example, were not in the focus).

Green jobs and employment

Estimates on employment in the EU environmental economy are provided by Eurostat[6]. Eurostat gathers these statistics based on a definition provided by the United Nations System of Environmental Accounting for what is described as the Environmental Goods and Services Sector (EGSS)[7]. The EGSS comprises two broad groups of activities and products:

  • environmental protection: activities which purpose is to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution and any other degradation of the environment; and
  • resource management: activities which purpose is to preserve and maintain natural resources, hence safeguarding them against depletion[6]

Applying this definition in the EU context, Eurostat estimates that the gross value added of the environmental economy (EGSS) increased from €127 billion in 2000 to €341 billion in 2020. Employment in the EU environmental economy increased from 3.2 million full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2000 to 5.1 million FTE in 2020, corresponding to 2% of total EU employment[8]. With this increase the environmental economy has by far outperformed the overall economy.

The environmental economy can also be analysed from a sector perspective using the statistical classification of economic activities (NACE). This indicates that most employment (5.1 million FTE) within the EU environmental economy in 2020 is related to energy and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (1.6 million full-time equivalents (FTE)), followed by construction (1.4 million FTE), other services activities (1.0 million FTE), agriculture, forestry and fishing (0.6 million FTE), and mining, quarrying and manufacturing (0.5 million FTE)[6].

It is worth noting that the Eurostat statistics rely on a definition that primarily considers industry characteristics rather than the green and sustainable aspects of employment. Some researchers argue that this approach introduces inaccuracies, such as the inclusion of false positives (i.e. labelling jobs as green solely based on being in green sectors) or false negatives (i.e. missing green jobs because they exist within non-green sectors)[9].

It is expected that the green economy will continue to grow over the next decades as the EU Green deal[10] seeks to accelerate the dual green and digital transition, aiming for a more sustainable and resilient society and economy. This brings about structural changes in the labour market[11]

  • job creation: new jobs emerge to reduce environmental pressures or increase resource efficiency as well as a result of development of circular business models;
  • job substitution: shift in economic activity within or across sectors from resource-intensive activities to more circular activities;
  • job destruction: job loss with no direct replacement, usually in the sectors with significant negative adverse environmental effect;
  • job redefinition: existing jobs change their day-to-day skillset, work methods, and profiles as part of the transition to a more effective and sustainable economy[11].

Although the overall impact of the green transition on the economy is expected to be neutral or even slightly positive, it should be emphasised that structural changes resulting from green transition are complex and impact individual sectors and/or regions differently. The timeline and depth of these changes also vary significantly depending on each sector and concrete jobs[11],[12],[5].

Based on data from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS, 2021), most workers in the EU27 are employed in occupations that will experience only a small impact or none at all from the green transition (65%). Close to 10% of workers are in new and emerging occupations due to the green transition, while nearly 15% work in sectors requiring enhanced skills or where demand is likely to increase. Given the nature of the sectors, occupations and tasks concerned, mainly in agriculture, mining and quarrying, construction, and transportation and storage, the workforce involved in green jobs is predominantly male[9].

Working conditions and job quality

The evidence suggests that not all green jobs are good jobs in terms of working conditions, fair pay, worker satisfaction, worker participation, autonomy and wellbeing[13]. The report from Eurofound Working conditions in the time of COVID-19: Implications for the future includes data from EWCTS 2021 focusses on the job quality of green jobs. Eurofound classifies the occupations in four groups based on how they are likely to be impacted by the green transition[14]

  1. occupations with small or no greening impact;
  2. new and emerging occupations e.g. energy engineers, solar power plant technicians;
  3. existing occupations requiring changes in tasks, skills and knowledge (enhanced skills);
  4. existing occupations rot requiring changes in tasks, skills and knowledge but that are in increased demand due to the green transition (increased demand) e.g. industrial engineers, bus drivers, welders, forest conservation workers. 

When it comes to job quality, 'increased demand occupations' (group 4) are worse than average in terms of both job demands and job resources (see figure 1). Workers in new and emerging jobs (group 2) hold better quality jobs with less strain and higher job resources with more learning opportunities, intrinsic rewards and autonomy. If the green transition results in the creation of more jobs of the new and emerging type, this will contribute to an overall improvement in job quality[14]. This fits with the objectives of the Just Transition Mechanism. In order to ensure that the green transition happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind”, the EU has created a Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) together with a Just Transition Fund[15]. The Just Transition Mechanism should directly contribute to alleviating the impact of the transition by mitigating the negative repercussions on employment and by creating sustainable jobs. The Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027[16] focuses on three crosscutting key objectives one of which is anticipating and managing change in the new world of work brought about by the green, digital and demographic transition. With this objective, the OSH framework endorses the importance of anticipating emerging risks of green jobs and ensuring that the green transition leads to sustainable jobs.

Figure 1: Job quality index, by greening occupational groups (%) - EWCTS 2021[14]

 

  • Greening occupational groups: four groups based on how they are likely to be impacted by the green transition (classification as explained above)
  • Strained/Resourced jobs: indicator for the job quality based on the difference between the number of job resources (which affect workers positively) and the number of job demands (which affect workers negatively). A job is described as ‘strained’ when the number of demands exceeds the number of resources and ‘resourced’ when the number of resources exceeds the number of demands.

Occupational safety and health risks

While green jobs are meant to help improve the environment, there is a major concern that with the rapid pace at which new technologies and tasks are being introduced, not enough attention is being paid to the risks they pose to workers’ health and safety and that the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, or even death, could increase before adequate protective measures are in place.

Workers in green jobs may face hazards that are common in traditional workplaces but new to workers entering fast-growing green sectors. Moreover, workers may be exposed to new risks through the use of new technologies, processes and materials, e.g. workers in the solar industry may be exposed to hazardous substances such as cadmium telluride (a known carcinogen) if adequate controls are not implemented[17][18]. Data from the EWCTS 2021 show that new and emerging green jobs as well as occupations requiring enhanced skills due to the green transition, generally are less physically demanding and less exposed to physical risks such as hazardous substances or ergonomically difficult working environments (figure 2)[14].

Figure 2: Job demands of greening occupational groups compared with average - EWCTS 2021[14]

The following overview outlines examples of occupational safety and health risks associated with key sectors within the green industry, starting with those specific to the renewable energy sector.

Table – Examples of occupational hazards/risks in green jobs of the renewable energy sector[19][20]

Renewable energy source Occupational hazards/risks 
Wind energy
  • falls from heights
  • falling objects
  • outdoor work (e.g. wind, high/cold temperature, ultraviolet radiation)
  • musculoskeletal disorders (due to manual handling, awkward postures, etc.)
  • mechanical risks (work equipment)
  • electrocution
  • work in confined spaces
  • chemical risks during manufacturing (e.g. exposure to resins, styrene) and recycling
  • specific risks of offshore activities and/or remote locations
Solar Photovoltaic 
  • falls from heights
  • electrocution
  • outdoor work (e.g. high/cold temperature, ultraviolet radiation)
  • musculoskeletal disorders (due to manual handling, awkward postures, etc.)
  • mechanical risks (work equipment)
  • exposure to toxic chemicals during manufacture and disposal and recycling e.g. cadmium telluride
Bioenergy, biomass, biofuel 
  • fire and explosion during production and use
  • work in confined spaces 
  • biological risks (e.g. exposure to hazardous volatile organic compounds, dusts, moulds and endotoxins) 
  • exposure to carcinogens, heavy metals and gases during thermal processing
Hydroelectricity 
  • falls from heights 
  • electrocution 
  • mechanical risks (work equipment)
  • hazards associated with construction, operation and maintenance

Wind energy

Wind energy[21] workers can be exposed to serious safety and health risks during the various phases of a wind farm project. Many aspects of preparing the site, erecting, maintaining, servicing and possibly dismantling wind turbines are unique, and even if most of the risks are not (e.g. working at height, manual handling, electrical risks or confined spaces) the working environments and combinations in which they are found create unique challenges (e.g. remote areas, extreme weather conditions or working at sea).

Nearly 60% of all workers within the wind energy sector work in the manufacturing of wind turbines and its components[21]. Risks in the manufacture of windmills are similar to those in the automobile industry and aerospace installations, e.g. manual handling, awkward postures, use of machinery and equipment, electrical hazards and noise. Workers may also be exposed to chemicals used during manufacturing, such as epoxy-based resins (risk of contact allergy and dermatitis). Also, other chemical hazards from exposure to styrene, solvents, gases, vapours and dusts can lead to work-related health problems[21],[17] . 

The construction phase is regarded as the most intricate and potentially hazardous stage in the life cycle of a wind turbine. It involves heavy lifting of turbine parts and the completion of multiple tasks in rapid succession, leading to various safety and health risks such as[21] :

  • falling structures, loads or objects during lifting operations;
  • falls from heights;
  • mechanical hazards, such as contact with moving parts;
  • electrical hazards;
  • fire or explosion;
  • manual handling of heavy turbine components;
  • physical load (fatigue from climbing ladders or working in confined spaces, heavy lifting, repetitive movements);
  • exposure to hazardous chemical agents;
  • environmental conditions (wind, wave and currents, lightning);
  • work organisation (time pressure, lack of safety equipment, lack of skills, different companies involved in the same operation);
  • exposure to noise and vibration

During the maintenance stage, the most common risks are falls from heights, falling objects, musculoskeletal disorders, physical load from climbing towers, electrocution, working in confined spaces, injuries from working with rotating work equipment and lone working[21], [17].

Installing and maintaining windmills in offshore working environment poses specific risks related to personnel transfers, diving operations and weather conditions[21].

More information on OSH in the wind energy sector is available in EU-OSHA publications:

  • Report - Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector[22]
  • E-fact 79 - Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector[21]

Solar energy

Small-scale solar installations are based on two different types of technologies: solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal power (STP). Photovoltaic systems are the most common. The manufacturing of PV cells may adversely affect the health of workers because of a variety of chemicals used for the semiconductor materials (e.g. crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium diselenide and copper indium gallium disulphide)18. Installers of rooftop or ground-mount solar PV installations are exposed to musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risks from repetitive work at awkward postures, falls from elevated working surfaces, electrical risks and hazards (e.g., electric shock, burns, electrocution and arc flash hazards), and heat stress from working for prolonged periods in hot temperatures18 . If a PV system catches fire, emergency first responders may be confronted with electric risks but also with fumes from hazardous chemicals, slips and trips, falls from height, and falling material[18].

At the end of their lifetime (after 20 to 25 years), solar panels can generate a significant new stream of electronic waste, which also contains many hazardous chemicals. This poses complex recycling challenges in terms of technology, health and safety and environmental protection. Recycling workers can be exposed to semiconductor materials or heavy metals from the solar panels they are disassembling. Similarly, they are confronted with ergonomic risks and risks of MSDs during the handling of heavy modules or repetitive handling[17], [23].

More information on OSH in the solar energy sector can be found in EU-OSHA publication, E-fact 68 - OSH and small-scale solar energy applications[18].

Bioenergy 

Bioenergy is renewable energy from biomass. Biomass is derived from organic material such as wood and wood residues, crop residues, and organic waste from industry, agriculture, landscape management and households. The biomass is converted to solid, liquid or gaseous fuel which can be used to produce heat and/or electricity or can be used as transport fuel (biofuels)[24][25].

Biomass may contain inhalable bioaerosol components comprising microorganisms and endotoxins which may have the potential to affect health. Exposure levels differ substantially by the type and size of biomass, by temperature and humidity, and by the specific task (e.g. transport, shredding, agitation)[26]. A study based on occupational hygiene measurements carried out at different Finnish biomass-fuelled power plants in 2012-2013 found that the exposure levels of actinobacteria, bacterial endotoxins and fungi were high, especially during the unloading of peat and wood chips. In addition, workers were exposed to mechanical irritation caused by organic dust, and chemical irritation caused by volatile organic compounds and components of diesel exhausts[27].

Biomass, especially in bulk, presents significant fire and explosion risks. Biomass, e.g. wood chip, sawdust or flour, is prone to self-heating. This is one of the main causes of fires in the biomass industry and is especially a problem when large amounts of material are stored in one silo or stack and where material is damp.

The safety issues arising from the downstream aspects (production of biogas and biofuels) are generally very similar to similar processes from fossil resources. Biogas for instance consists largely of carbon dioxide and methane. Methane is highly flammable and forms explosive mixtures in combination with oxygen in the air. Explosion protection is therefore of great importance in biogas plants. Methane and carbon dioxide may displace the oxygen from the atmosphere, presenting a risk of suffocation[28],[17],[29].

Hydroelectricity

Hydropower stations produce electrical power through the use of gravitational force of falling or flowing water[30]. Work in hydropower stations involves risks associated with the construction, operation and maintenance. Workers may face electrical shocks, burns, or electrocution due to unexpected electrical energy release from overhead and underground lines installation, construction in energised substations or working near energised electrical systems. Working at heights, such as on dam structures or elevated platforms, poses the risk of falls. Other risks include working in confined spaces, entanglement, crushing, or other types of mechanical injuries from machinery or moving parts, noise and vibrations. Certain processes in hydropower plants may also expose workers to hazardous chemicals[17]

Many modern hydropower plants are operated remotely minimising on-site workplace exposure. However, risks arise when breakdowns occur and workers are required to go on site, exacerbated by the fact that they often have to work alone. A typical hazard at hydroelectric plants is the risk of drowning. It is generally not possible to safeguard all structures by handrails, as they would be damaged or destroyed during high water levels[31].

Green buildings

EU-OSHA defines a green building as a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life-cycle, from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition[32]

Green building construction applies ecological and efficiency principles that demand technological skills and management requirements far beyond those for traditional buildings. 

While green building projects may involve new environmentally friendly jobs (e.g. installing solar panel systems, heat pumps) as well as traditional ones (e.g., concrete pouring), the knowledge and expertise requirements are typically significantly higher. As a result, occupational risks associated with green construction jobs closely resemble those found in traditional construction, such as working at heights, the use of power tools, vehicle collisions, slips and trips, falling objects, exposure to dust, etc. 

In addition, there are also risks associated with unfamiliar settings (such as the installation of renewable energy equipment at heights), technologies or design and the use of new green materials (such as bricks, insulation materials and paints containing nanomaterials, new renewable construction materials)[17],[32].  Examples of renewable materials used in green building include bamboo, straw, sheep wool, flax and cork. Hardwood types from sustainable sources, western red cedar in particular, may be relatively strong sensitisers[32]. Moreover, hardwood dust is considered a carcinogen, and a binding occupational exposure limit is set in the EU Directive on carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxic substances at work[33]. Generally, materials from renewable organic sources might bring elevated risks of exposure to protein-based allergens, and micro-organisms such as bacteria, moulds and fungi or endotoxins[32]
A systematic literature review (2022)[34] found that there is sufficient evidence of release, and emission of hazardous substances, including nanomaterials, during the application of innovative materials, products, and methods within green buildings to conclude that construction workers will be exposed. While it remains unclear what the level of exposure in real workplace practice is and whether or not it will result in health effects, from a precautionary point of view, adequate protection of workers is warranted awaiting results of epidemiological studies[34].

Some green design elements have also been reported to cause OSH risks, such as skylights and atriums, which are meant to provide natural lighting[32].

More information on OSH in the green building sector can be found in EU-OSHA publication, E-fact 70 - Occupational safety and health issues associated with green building[32]

Energy efficiency measures, buildings and renovation

Energy renovation can expose workers to the harmful effects of asbestos. With the adoption of the European Green Deal and the renovation wave strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings, it is expected that 35 million buildings will undergo maintenance, be renovated or otherwise be demolished by 2030. Therefore, between 4.1 and 7.3 million workers in the construction and renovation sector, in waste management and in the firefighting services will be at increased risk of exposure to asbestos[35]. For this reason, the European Commission is taking steps[36] to better protect workers from asbestos by amending the Directive 2009/148/EC[37] and significantly lowering the exposure limit.

Recycling and sorting of waste

The transition to a circular economy is a key driver of the EU goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Circular economy refers to the circular flow and efficient (re)use of resources, materials and products. The life of products and materials is extended and waste is minimised. Products and industrial processes are designed to keep resources in use, and any unavoidable waste or residues are recycled or recovered [38]. With the EU’s targets for the recovery and recycling e.g. on packaging waste, electrical equipment and construction waste[39], the number of workers involved in recycling and sorting of waste increases. The waste management industry poses significant risks, including exposure to chemical and biological agents, noise, vibration, manual handling, repetitive movements, slips, trips, and falls, sharps-related injuries, work organisation challenges, and psychosocial issues. Among these risks, exposure to chemical and biological agents is particularly high in this sector. More information on the risks of biological agents in the sector is available in the discussion paper from EU-OSHA: Exposure to biological agents and related health effects in the waste management and wastewater treatment sector[40].

In addition, the introduction of new recycling technologies brings potential new risks as more emphasis is placed on advanced processes to preserve the performance qualities of materials. An example is pyrometallurgical recycling to recover metals from batteries. During these high-temperature processes, workers may be exposed to toxic fumes and emissions[41], Moreover, the collection of new materials and products as waste can introduce a range of occupational hazards, including those related to nanomaterials, new types of chemicals, and the increasing volume of electronic waste17. A study conducted by IRSST in Québec[42] on the chemical and biological risks associated with green jobs highlighted that a significant number of high-risk occupations are found within the waste management sector.

Foresight on emerging risks

Considering the rapid growth of the green economy, it is important to anticipate new or emerging OSH risks associated with green jobs before they arise. Therefore, EU-OSHA has already carried out a detailed foresight study[20] during 2012-2013 to look at how work in green jobs is likely to develop by 2020 and what OSH challenges this may bring. In particular, the study provided EU policymakers with information to help them shape the workplaces of tomorrow and keep European workers safe and healthy during the green transition.

Building on the foresight study on green jobs, EU-OSHA started in 2021 a foresight cycle looking at changes in work that may result from the EU’s transition to a circular economy. This project considers how different sectors may be affected by efforts to implement a circular economy up to 2040, and the consequences this could have for occupational safety and health. During the first phase of the project four future scenarios were defined. These scenarios have been a starting point to discuss both the potential risks and opportunities with stakeholders from target sectors and target groups (e.g. representing vulnerable groups). Special focus is given to the effects of digitalisation and the impact on the waste sector. The reports and policy briefs with scenarios and recommendations are available on a webpage dedicated to the circular economy at EU-OSHA's website[38]

OSH management

Work involves risks that, if not prevented and controlled, can lead to work-related accidents or diseases. That also applies to green jobs. Regardless of the "greenness" of the workplace or job, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment for workers. Ensuring the well-being of workers remains paramount no matter the specific characteristics or classification of the job. The key to eliminating and minimising these risks lies in adhering to the fundamental principles of OSH laid down in legislative provisions. The implementation of OSH regulations is not contingent on the nature of the job being environmentally friendly. As described in the EU OSH Framework Directive[43], hazards should be identified and risks analysed and prioritised. The technologies and processes in green jobs must be the object of risks assessment and management as for any other job, preferably in their design and pre-operational phases. The hierarchy of control measures should be observed: eliminating or otherwise substituting the hazard, followed by minimising risks at source with engineering controls, organisational controls and, as a last resort, the application of personal protective equipment[17],[18], [21].

Three hazard identification checklists, developed by EU-OSHA, are available to help employers carry out a risk assessment for green jobs in three specific sectors: 

  • E-Fact 80 - Hazard Identification Checklist: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risks in the wind energy sector[44]
  • E-fact 69 - Hazard identification checklist: OSH risks associated with small-scale solar energy applications[45]
  • E-fact 71 - Hazard identification checklist: Occupational safety and health issues associated with green building[46]

Conclusion

The EU's green transition can only be a just transition if both the process and its outcomes are as fair and inclusive as possible. Worker safety and health is crucial to leave no one behind and It is one of the most important policy areas in addressing environmental, economic and social sustainability. Ensuring that all jobs, including green ones, are safe and healthy is essential to improving the quality of work and ensuring economic success. On the one hand, the green economy requires a substantial change in the world of work and the creation of new green jobs and skills in all sectors to redirect production systems, consumption patterns and society as a whole towards "decarbonisation", ecosystem protection and a circular economy but, on the other hand, it is clear that social protection, investing in skills and improving working conditions and OSH are fundamental to sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth. This implies maintaining sufficient focus on the work-related health and safety challenges of the green transition and investing in research on emerging risks associated with green jobs, new work processes and innovative materials. It is important to ensure that designing green jobs or adapting traditional jobs to green the economy incorporate prevention strategies to anticipate, identify, evaluate and control new work-related risks arising from these jobs.

References

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[21] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector. E-fact 79, 2014. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/e-fact-79-occupational-safety-and-health-wind-energy-sector

[22] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector. Report, 2013. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/occupational-safety-and-health-wind-energy-sector 

[23] Duroha, J. C., Brownson, J. R., & Macht, G. A. Occupational risks associated with solar installations: A review. In American Solar Energy Society National Solar Conference 2020, SOLAR 2020 (pp. 49-55). International Solar Energy Society. Available at: http://proceedings.ises.org/paper/solar2020/solar2020-0008-Duroha.pdf 

[24] European Commission. Bioenergy. Available at: https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/renewable-energy/bioenergy_en 

[25] IEA Bioenergy. Bioenergy, a sustainable solution. Available at: https://www.ieabioenergy.com/bioenergy-a-sustainable-solution/ 

[26] Rohr, A. C., Campleman, S. L., Long, C. M., Peterson, M. K., Weatherstone, S., Quick, W., & Lewis, A. Potential occupational exposures and health risks associated with biomass-based power generation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015, 12(7), 8542-8605. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4515735/ 

[27] Laitinen, S., Laitinen, J., Fagernäs, L., Korpijärvi, K., Korpinen, L., Ojanen, K., ... & Jokiniemi, J. Exposure to biological and chemical agents at biomass power plants. Biomass and Bioenergy, 2016, 93, 78-86. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0961953416302276 

[28] DGUV. The importance of explosion protection. Available at: https://www.dguv.de/en/mediencenter/background/energie/biogas/index.jsp 

[29] Ennis, T. Fire and explosion hazards in the biomass industries. In IChemE Symposium Series, 2016. Available at: https://www.icheme.org/media/11801/hazards-26-paper-64-fire-and-explosion-hazards-in-the-biomass-industries.pdf 

[30] Mulloy, K. B., Sumner, S. A., Rose, C., Conway, G. A., Reynolds, S. J., Davidson, M. E., ... & Layde, P. M. Renewable energy and occupational health and safety research directions: A white paper from the Energy Summit, Denver Colorado, April 11–13, 2011. American journal of industrial medicine, 2013, 56(11), pp. 1359-1370. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.22184 

[31] DGUV. Someone gets called out - no matter how late it is. Available at: https://www.dguv.de/en/mediencenter/background/energie/wasserkraft/index.jsp 

[32] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Occupational safety and health issues associated with green building. E-fact 70, 2013. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/e-fact-70-occupational-safety-and-health-issues-associated-green-building 

[33] Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxic substances at work. Available at:  https://osha.europa.eu/en/legislation/directive/directive-200437ec-carcinogens-or-mutagens-work 

[34] Mmereki, D., & Brouwer, D. Application of Innovative Materials and Methods in Green Buildings and Associated Occupational Exposure and Health of Construction Workers: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 2022, 148(8), 04022068. Available at: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0002296 

[35] ETUI - European Trade Union Institute. The Green Deal and the renovation wave: an asbestos time bomb for European workers. News, February 10, 2023. Available at: https://www.etui.org/news/green-deal-and-renovation-wave-asbestos-time-bomb-european-workers 

[36] European Commission. Commission acts to better protect people from asbestos and ensure an asbestos-free future. Press release, 28 September 2022. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_5679 

[37] Directive 2009/148/EC of 30 November 2009 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/legislation/directives/2009-148-ec-exposure-to-asbestos-at-work 

[38] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Circular economy and its effects on OSH. Webpage. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/emerging-risks/circular-economy 

[39] Eurostat. Waste targets. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/waste/targets  

[40] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Exposure to biological agents and related health effects in the waste management and wastewater treatment sectors. Discussion paper, 2019. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/exposure-biological-agents-and-related-health-effects-waste-management-and-wastewater 

[41] Shin, S. H., Kim, H. O., & Rim, K. T. Worker safety in the rare earth elements recycling process from the review of toxicity and issues. Safety and Health at Work, 2019, 10(4), 409-419. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6933177 

[42] Cheneval, E., Busque, M. A., Ostiguy, C., Lavoie, J., Bourbonnais, R., Labrèche, F., & Zayed, J. Green Jobs in Quebec: Definition and Assessment of Potential Chemical and Biological Risks to Workers' Health. Institut de recherche Robert-Sauve en sante et en securite du travail, 2017. Available at: https://www.irsst.qc.ca/en/publications-tools/publication/i/100821/n/green-jobs-quebec-definition-assessment-chemical-biological-risks  

[43] Framework Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/legislation/directives/the-osh-framework-directive/1 

[44] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Hazard Identification Checklist: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risks in the wind energy sector. E-Fact 80, 2014. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/e-fact-80-hazard-identification-checklist-occupational-safety-and-health-osh-risks-wind 

[45] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Hazard identification checklist: OSH risks associated with small-scale solar energy applications. E-fact 69, 2013. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/e-fact-69-hazard-identification-checklist-osh-risks-associated-small-scale-solar-energy 

[46] EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Hazard identification checklist: Occupational safety and health issues associated with green building. E-fact 71, 2013. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/e-fact-71-hazard-identification-checklist-occupational-safety-and-health-issues 

Further reading

EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Workers’ safety and health in green jobs. Webpage. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/emerging-risks/green-jobs  

EU-OSHA - European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Summary - Green jobs and occupational safety and health: Foresight on new and emerging risks associated with new technologies by 2020. Report summary, 2013. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/summary-green-jobs-and-occupational-safety-and-health-foresight-new-and-emerging-risks 

EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Circular economy and its effects on OSH. Webpage. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/emerging-risks/circular-economy

ILO – International Labour Organisation. Promoting safety and health in a green economy, 2012. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/safework/info/WCMS_175600/lang--en/index.htm 

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