Community news|30/06/23

The Council in favour of better protection for workers against chemicals

Home > The news of EUROGIP and occupational risks in Europe > The Council in favour of better protection for workers against chemicals

The Council is ready to start negotiations with the European Parliament on a new initiative to protect workers from the health risks associated with exposure to dangerous chemicals. This follows the proposal for a directive presented by the Commission on 13 February 2023 on limit values for diisocyanates, lead and its inorganic compounds.

This text amends Directive 98/24/EC and Directive 2004/37/EC, in particular lowering the occupational exposure limit value for lead from 0.15 mg/m3 to 0.03 mg/m3 and the biological limit value for lead from 70 µg/100 ml to 15 µg/100 ml.

The Council’s position, or “general approach”, of 12 June 2023 maintains these limits “while introducing a transitional period (until 31 December 2028) to ensure that Member States have sufficient time to effectively implement risk management measures and adapt their production processes to comply with the new biological limit value for lead”.

The Council has also introduced specific provisions for workers who already have high levels of lead in their blood as a result of historical exposure, and for women of child-bearing age. Finally, the general approach includes a requirement for the Commission to publish guidelines on health surveillance, which should include advice on how to implement the provisions on blood lead levels.

The general approach gives the incoming Spanish Presidency of the Council a mandate to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament, with a view to reaching a provisional agreement on the amending directive.

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