Limits on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work: Third proposal [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nicole Scholz (1st edition),

Occupational Health written on the road

© gustavofrazao / Fotolia

The European Commission has proposed to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer- or mutation-causing substances. The initiative is proceeding in steps. The first proposal of May 2016 covered 13 priority chemical agents, the second, of January 2017, a further seven. The current (third) proposal addresses an additional five.

Broad discussions with scientists and the social partners fed into all three proposals. Reacting to the Commission’s set of measures as a whole, trade unions have acknowledged the importance of further action to improve the existing framework, reiterating the need to reach the target of 50 limit values in 2020, while some considered it necessary to extend the scope of the CMD to substances that are toxic to reproduction. Actors on the employers’ side, while in principle supporting further revisions of the directive, have underlined, among other things, the need to ensure that values are proportionate and feasible in terms of technical implementation.

While welcoming the Commission proposal, the rapporteur’s draft report of 29 June 2018 proposes, inter alia, to grant incentives to businesses that comply with the directive. Moreover, it opts to include, within the scope of the directive, the protection of workers from exposure to hazardous, or harm-causing, medicines (including cytotoxic ones, which are used in the treatment of cancer).


Stage: Committee vote

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