Community news, Covid-19 News|12/06/20

Coronavirus: biological agents directive updated

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The European Commission has published an update to the Biological Agents Directive to include SARS-CoV-2. The text of 3 June 2020 “takes into account new risks in the workplace and offers additional protection to all workers, particularly those working in direct contact with the virus in hospitals, industrial processes and laboratories.”

However, SARS-CoV2 is classified as an “intermediate” risk for workers. Many Members of the European Parliament and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) have strongly criticised this classification. They would have preferred it to be in group 4 of biological agents posing a serious danger to workers. Furthermore, they regret the lack of transparency on the part of the Commission, which has not published the text of the expert reports on which it claims to have relied.

The European Parliament now has one month to reject this directive. Its Employment and Social Affairs Committee has put the subject on the agenda for its meeting on 11 June.

Directive (EU) 2020/739 amending Annex III to Directive 2000/54/EC
European Commission Facsheet
ETUI position

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