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Extractive industries in the surface and underground

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Extractive industries in the surface and underground

This Directive aims primarily to improve the safety and health protection of workers in the surface and underground extractive industries.


Council Directive 92/104/EEC of 3 December 1992 concerning minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in the surface and underground extractive industries (12th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [Official Journal L 404 of 31.12.1992].


This Directive, which fills the legal vacuum arising from the exclusion of the extractive industries from the scope of Council Directive 89/654/EEC, covers the other two sectors of the extractive industries which are not covered by the Directive on exploration and exploitation by means of boreholes, i.e. exploration for and exploitation of minerals in surface or underground mines and quarries.

This Directive does not concern operations connected with the transport of workers and products outside the workplace. The provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC apply in full without prejudice to the more binding provisions contained in this Directive.

Definition of "surface and underground extractive industries": all industries engaged in activities concerned with extraction of minerals in the open air or underground and/or prospecting with a view to such extraction and/or preparation of extracted materials for sale, but not the processing of extracted materials.

General obligations of the employer

In accordance with this Directive, the employer shall be required to:

  • ensure that workplaces are designed and operated in such a way as to protect the workers' safety and/or health;
  • make provision for responsible supervision during operation of manned workplaces;
  • entrust work involving a special risk only to competent workers;
  • ensure that safety instructions are comprehensible to all the workers concerned;
  • provide first-aid facilities and run safety exercises at regular intervals;
  • prevent fires, explosions and health-endangering noxious atmospheres by taking measures and precautions appropriate to the nature of the operation;
  • ensure the presence and maintenance of escape and rescue facilities;
  • provide the necessary communication, warning and alarm systems enabling immediate implementation of rescue operations;
  • ensure the presence and maintenance of sanitary installations and rest rooms;
  • inform workers of the measures to be taken concerning safety and health at the workplace;
  • ensure that workers undergo regular health checks;
  • ensure consultation and participation of workers on the matters covered by the Directive.

Prior to the commencement of work, the employer must ensure that a document concerning safety and health is prepared and kept up to date (in accordance with Articles 6, 9 and 10 of Directive 89/391/EEC). This document must show, in particular, that the risks run by workers at the workplace have been determined and assessed, that appropriate measures have been taken and that the workplace is designed, operated and maintained in line with safety requirements.

Where workers from more than one firm are present at the same workplace, the employer responsible for the workplace must coordinate the health and safety measures applying to these workers and set them out in the document. This coordination does not affect the liability of individual employers. The employer must immediately report fatal and serious occupational accidents and dangerous occurrences.

Workplaces involving exploration for and exploitation of minerals in mines and quarries used for the first time after 31 December 1993 must satisfy the minimum requirements laid down in the Annex; modifications made after 31 December 1993 must also comply with these minimum requirements; workplaces already in use are allowed a further nine years in order to take account of the situation of small and medium-sized enterprises.

General provisions

Amendments to the Annexes are to be adopted by the Commission in accordance with the procedures laid down in Article 17 of Directive 89/391/EEC.

Member States may waive implementation of this Directive in respect of extractive industries involving dredging, provided that the general principles for protecting the health and safety of the workers concerned are respected.

Member States shall report to the Commission every five years on the implementation of this Directive.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 92/104/EEC



OJ L 404 of 31.12.1992

Last updated: 05.02.2007