Community news|02/12/15

The 2016 priorities of the European Commission regarding OSH

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The European Commission has published its work program for 2016, which includes 40 “REFIT” activities, some of which relate to occupational safety and health (OSH). 

REFIT aims to “preserve the sobriety and good performance of all the EU legislation, eliminate unnecessary complexity and adapt the existing legislation without jeopardizing our ambitious political objectives”.

With regard to occupational safety and health (OSH), the Commission has announced that one of the planned REFIT activities will be to “facilitate compliance with the REACH framework and ensure that the health and safety legislation is viable and is applied”. It has also announced that in 2016 it would complete the complex preparatory work already underway to protect Europeans against the dangers of endocrine disruptors. A re-examination of the legislation on occupational safety and health, including for carcinogenic and mutagenic agents, will be able to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a modernized European framework for worker protection. Finally, the Commission has announced that it will present a targeted revision of the directive on worker posting.

Reacting to the publication of the Commission’s work programme, the European Trade Union Confederation “expressed its concerns regarding plans to revise the health and safety legislation as part of the REFIT programme”.

In its 2016 work programme, the Commission publishes the list of legislative measures which will become applicable. In the area of OSH, note the following directives in particular:

  • 2014/34/EU regarding protection devices and systems designed to be used in explosible atmospheres (revision) applicable on 20/04/2016;  
  • 2013/35/EU concerning the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) cancelling the 2004/40/EC directive, applicable on 1/07/2016.

Work programme of the Commission for 2016

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