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At last! Protection for all from harmful substances at workplace

12/10/2018

The deal brokered will see the 2004 Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) revised for a second time.

At last! Protection for all from harmful substances at workplace

Image courtesy of Krista on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As a result, workers exposed to 5 carcinogens are better protected as well as 12 million workers potentially exposed to diesel fumes.

As in the first revision, the second revision of the 2004 Directive aims to further reduce the risk of cancer for workers, the leading cause of work-related deaths in the EU. Overall, the directive looks to lower the risk of workers getting cancer, which is the primary cause of work-related deaths in the EU.

Negotiations with the Council on limiting exposure to harmful substances in the workplace have yielded positive results with the inclusion of diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEE), a longstanding GUE/NGL demand, which was not included in the original Commission proposal. The revised Directive also sets exposure limit values for 5 additional carcinogens (trichlorethylene, 4,4-methylenedianiline, epichlorohydrin, ethylene dibromide and ethylene dichloride).

MEP Patrick Le Hyaric (PCF, France) welcomed the outcome of the negotiations he actively took part in:

“The level of cooperation achieved between the EU institutions, the trade unions and social partners is a positive outcome for the efforts to reduce exposure to harmful substances in the workplace and must continue in the next revision.”

“However, we deplore that those limits could have been better enforced had the member states and the Commission accompanied them with more means of monitoring workplace conditions i.e. more health and safety inspectors. Still, we are confident that with this revision of the 2004 Directive, the resources made available for the effective protection of workers are now a reality,” Le Hyaric concluded.

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