EU rules on worker protection from exposure to carcinogens get stricter

The EU Parliament has given its final approval on EU rules to better protect workers from exposure to carcinogens

EU Parliament votes on rules providing better protection for workers against carcinogens

Stricter EU rules providing better protection for workers who are exposed to carcinogens or mutagens at work have won the EU Parliament’s final approval.

These rules, which add another 11 carcinogens to the dangerous substances list and revise limit values for two existing ones, target the primary cause of work-related deaths in the EU.

Ten chemical agents:1,2-epoxypropane, 1,3-butadiene, 2-nitroproprane, acrylamide, bromoethylene, vinyl bromide, chromium (VI) compounds, ethylene oxide, hydrazine, and o-toluidine, plus refractory ceramic fibres, and process-generated crystalline silica dust, created by mining, cutting or crushing of materials such as concrete, bricks or rocks.

The new legislation also revises exposure limits for two substances already on the list: hardwood dusts (produced by cutting or pulverising wood), and vinyl chloride monomer (mainly used to produce PVC)

Employers will have to identify and assess risks to workers who are exposed to these substances and take preventive measures.

MEPs ensured that the Commission will have to assess the possibility of including reprotoxic substances, i.e. those having effects on sexual function and fertility, in the dangerous substances list by the first quarter of 2019.

 

Health surveillance

The new rules also lay down that the national authority responsible for the health surveillance of workers may decide that health surveillance must continue after the end of exposure, for as long as needed to safeguard health.

The directive was approved by 540 votes to 6 against, with 119 abstentions. Once endorsed by the Council, the new rules will be published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force 20 days after publication.

The new rules will particularly benefit workers in the construction sector, chemical, automotive, the healthcare sector and hospitals, manufacturers of food products, woodworking and furniture industries and textiles. 

Employers will have to identify and assess risks to workers who are exposed to these substances and take preventive measures.

The directive was approved by 540 votes to 6 against, with 119 abstentions. Once endorsed by the Council, the new rules will be published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force 20 days after publication.

      

For more information visit http://www.europarl.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/en/media/news/2017/october17/carcinogens25-10-17.html