On 13 October 2016, the EU Council reached an agreement to set exposure limit values (ELVs) for eleven new carcinogenic or mutagenic agents. The way is now open for discussions with the European Parliament.
Mr Jan Richter, Slovak Minister of Labour, the Family and Social Affairs and President of the Council, said: “With this agreement we take a major step forward in the combat against the primary cause of work-related deaths in the European Union. Our objective is to help save 100,000 lives over the next 50 years.”
The eleven new agents are as follows: respirable crystalline silica dust; 1,2-epoxypropane; 1,3-butadiene; 2-nitropropane; acrylamide; certain chromium (VI) compounds; ethylene oxide; o-toluidine; refractory ceramic fibres; bromoethylene; hydrazine.
The directive also revises the limit values concerning vinyl chloride monomer and hard wood dusts in the light of new scientific data.
New minimum requirements will be set concerning the elimination and reduction of all carcinogenic and mutagenic agents. Employers will also be obliged to identify and assess the risks related to workers’ exposure to carcinogenic (or mutagenic) agents, and they will be required to prevent this exposure if these risks are established.
When the technology makes it possible, it will be compulsory to provide for a harmless or less dangerous substitute process or chemical agent.
The legislation is due to be enacted in February 2017.