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Exposure to chemical agents

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Exposure to chemical agents

This directive lays down minimum requirements to protect workers from risks to their health and safety from the effects of chemicals they may encounter in the course of their job. It sets out exposure limit values and preventive measures.

ACT

Council Directive 98/24/EC of 7 April 1998 on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work (fourteenth individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

SUMMARY

SCOPE

Directive 98/24/EC applies to workers exposed to hazardous chemicals when its provisions are more favourable than those of Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from risks from carcinogens.

Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, laying down minimum requirements for the protection of workers from health and safety risks from chemicals, applies in full, without prejudice to provisions that are more stringent or specific in this directive.

Following approval of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, it was necessary to align the 1998 directive, and four others, with those new provisions. The changes were incorporated in Directive 2014/27/EU. This identifies hazardous chemicals and informs users of the related risks through standard symbols and wording on packaging labels and safety data sheets.

EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATIONS

Assessing risk

Employers must determine whether any hazardous chemicals are present and, if so, assess health and safety risks they might pose. This assessment must be kept up to date.

Preventing risks

Employers must take the necessary preventive measures to eliminate or reduce risks to the minimum. They should provide suitable equipment and reduce the duration of any exposure and safe handling, storage and transport of hazardous chemicals. Where possible, chemicals or processes must be replaced with less dangerous ones.

The legislation provides for indicative occupational exposure limit values to be established.

Dealing with accidents, incidents and emergencies

Employers must draw up action plans so that appropriate action, including informing those concerned, is taken when an accident occurs. These must be accompanied by regular safety drills and first-aid facilities.

Informing and training workers

Employers must provide workers with results of risk assessments, information on hazardous chemical substances on the premises and the relevant occupational exposure limit values. They must also supply training and details on appropriate precautions to be taken.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Bans

The directive bans the production, manufacture or use of certain chemicals. These are set out in Annex III. Exemptions are allowed under certain circumstances like scientific research and testing. In such cases, employers must provide authorities with information such as the quantities to be used and number of workers likely to be involved.

Health monitoring

EU countries must arrange appropriate health monitoring for workers whose health may be at risk. Individual health and exposure records are required.

Final provisions

EU countries report to the Commission every 5 years on the implementation of the various measures.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Directive 98/24/EC

25.5.1998

5.5.2001

OJ L 131 of 5.5.1998

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Directive 2014/27/EU

25.3.2014

1.6.2015

OJ L 65 of 5.3.2014

RELATED ACTS

Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (Official Journal L 183 of 29.6.1989).

Council Directive 92/58/EEC of 24 June 1992 on the minimum requirements for the provision of safety and/or health signs at work (ninth individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (Official Journal L 245 of 26.8.1992).

Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (tenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (Official Journal L 348 of 28.11.1992).

Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 on the protection of young people at work (Official Journal L 216 of 20.8.1994).

Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (sixth individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC) (codified version)(Official Journal L 158 of 30.4.2004).

Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (Official Journal L 353 of 31.12.2008).

Last updated: 05.05.2014

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