European Green Deal Leather Project: social partners working towards zero accidents in the workplace!


Image: ©GDL Group, Valencia


Working towards zero accidents in the tanning and leather sector was the focus of last week’s meeting in Valencia which saw the steering committee of the EU-funded social dialogue project, Green Deal Leather (GDL), come together to take stock on the recent study on injuries/accidents at the workplace which provides a snapshot of occupation health and safety trends in the European tanning sector in the years 2019 and 2021.

Green Deal Leather, a two-year EU-funded project, aims to generate representative reference data at the sector level on workplace safety and the carbon footprint of leather for the European tanning industry. The European social partners are united in working towards a tanning and leather sector which does not harm workers or the environment and produces high-quality sustainable leather generating thousands of decent jobs across Europe.

European social partners from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, met in Valencia at the Inpelsa tannery to discuss the preliminary results of the study on injuries/accidents at the workplace. The study found a 16% decrease in reported accidents in the workplace (2021 vs 2019) with most injuries affecting the upper limbs, specifically the hands, while most reported posture incidents involved the vertebral column. Thankfully, the vast majority of accidents reported were classed as not severe, however, social partners agreed on the need to delve further into the issue at the next in-person workshop in Milan in September.

Image: ©GDL-meeting

Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll European Trade Union, said:

²Although we welcome the reduction of accidents and injuries in the workplace, there is still room for improvement. Good occupational health and safety practices in the workplace with ongoing training and checks are essential in keeping workers safe in tanneries. Social dialogue is key and trade unions and workers¢ representatives must be able to highlight any issues to management knowing that these will be acted on swiftly. These preliminary results act as a baseline and now we need to work together to bring the number of accidents down to zero.²

Following the meeting, the social partners were able to see good occupational health and safety, as well as energy efficiency measures, in practice via site visits to the Inpelsa and Incusa tanneries. Lowering the carbon emissions of leather processing is the second objective of the Green Deal Leather project, and the project steering committee was able to see clean technology in practice from the use of solar panels to the recycling of used water.

Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General of COTANCE, said:

²The current project analysis is just a starting point, a reference base for future investments aimed at the continuous improvement of health and safety conditions by companies in the sector. The European leather sector is made up of responsible employers and we want to ensure that the European industry is the safest in the world and produces the best and most beautiful products from animal by-products that would otherwise be thrown away.²

Green Deal Leather, an EU-funded social dialogue aims to generate representative reference data at the sector level on workplace safety and the carbon footprint of leather for the European tanning industry. The project aims for ‘’zero impact’’ may seem impossible, but it is the ambition of the European Social Partners, seconded by ACEXPIEL (Spain), APIC (Portugal), FFTM (France), FVTBSL (Austria), MKSZ (Hungary), UNIC-Concerie Italiane (Italy) and VDL (Germany). The European social partners hope that the project will pave the way to minimizing both accidents and injuries in the workplace and the carbon footprint of the leather.

Image: ©GDL Group


Project details:

Reference: 101051445 – Green Deal Leather (Towards Zero Adverse Impact of the European Leather Industry)

Coordinator: COTANCE

Co-coordinator: industriAll European trade union

Partners: ACEXPIEL (Spain), AHLI (Hungary), APIC (Portugal), FFTM (France), FV TBSL (Austria), UNIC- Concerie Italiane (Italy), VDL (Germany)



Source and Images: www.euroleather.com

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