Parliament and the Commission agreed on 11 June to classify SARS-CoV-2 in risk group 3 of biological agents, adding safeguards to protect workers.
Several groups in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee had tabled an objection to this classification. They argued for a classification in Group 4 to ensure the highest possible levels of health and safety protection for workers.
According to Nicolas Schmit (Employment and Social Rights), the Commission will strongly encourage Member States to ensure that workers exposed to Covid-19 all have written instructions. At the same time, it will assess the need to amend the directive in the light of the lessons learned from the pandemic.
On the basis of these additional guarantees for the health and safety of workers, the resolution opposing the Commission’s decision was rejected by 35 votes against, 5 in favour and 15 abstentions.
The Commission’s decision to classify SARS-CoV-2 in risk group 3 of biological agents is therefore adopted and in force. Member States must implement Directive (EU) 2020/739 by 24 November 2020 at the latest.