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The European Commission’s Directorate General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion recently published an evaluation report on the implementation of the European agreement on health protection for workers handling and using crystalline silica and products containing it.
Crystalline silica can be used as a raw material in certain industrial processes such as glass manufacturing. It is also found in the form of airborne dust in numerous industries, in particular manufacturing and construction. Now, the effects of this mineral on health can be extremely serious and incapacitating (notably silicosis). Occupational exposure to crystalline silica should therefore be reduced to the lowest possible level.
It is for this purpose that a multi-sector agreement was signed on 25 April 2006 by the European social partners to protect workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, minimize exposure by means of good practices, and increase knowledge of the potential health impacts.
The Commission’s report provides an evaluation of the implementation and impact of this agreement.