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Workers’ health and safety in the mineral-extracting industries

Workers’ health and safety in the mineral-extracting industries



Directive 92/91/EEC — minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in the mineral-extracting industries through drilling


It aims to lay down the minimum requirements for protecting the health and safety of those working — both onshore and offshore — in the industries which extract minerals through drilling*.


All workplaces used for exploration and extraction of minerals by means of drilling must satisfy the minimum health and safety requirements listed in the directive and its annex, taking account of the features of the workplace, the activity, the circumstances or a specific risk.

General obligations of the employer

Employers are required to:

  • apply safety considerations to workplaces right from the design stage;
  • ensure that there is a supervisor in charge;
  • entrust work involving a special risk only to suitably qualified staff;
  • ensure that safety instructions are comprehensible to all the workers concerned;
  • provide first-aid facilities and run safety exercises at regular intervals.

Document on health and safety

Before mineral-extracting work starts, the employer must ensure that a document on safety and health has been prepared and is up to date (in accordance with Articles 6, 9 and 10 of Directive 89/391/EEC laying down general rules on occupational health and safety). This document must show, in particular, that:

  • the risks run by workers at the workplace have been determined and assessed;
  • appropriate measures have been taken; and
  • 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 that workplace, in accordance with national laws and/or practices, 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.

Reporting of accidents and dangerous incidents

The employer must report fatal and serious occupational accidents and dangerous incidents to the competent authorities without delay.

Preventive and communication measures

To protect workers against danger (including from fire, explosions and health-endangering atmospheres), employers must:

  • take appropriate preventive measures to
    • avoid, detect and combat the starting and spread of fires and explosions
    • prevent the occurrence of explosive and/or health-endangering atmospheres;
  • perform regular safety drills;
  • provide and maintain appropriate means of escape and rescue to ensure that workers can leave workplaces promptly and safely in the event of danger;
  • provide the necessary warning and other communication systems to enable assistance, escape and rescue operations to be launched immediately if needed;
  • inform workers, in a comprehensible way, of all measures taken concerning their safety and health.

Modifications to workplaces

When workplaces are modified, extended and/or converted after the date on which this directive comes into force, employers must ensure that they comply with the minimum requirements laid down in the annex to the directive.

Workers’ health check

Every worker must be given a health check before being assigned to duties related to the activities referred to in the directive and at regular intervals thereafter.

Worker consultation and participation

Employers must ensure consultation and participation of workers on the matters covered by the directive.


It has applied since 11 November 1992 and had to become law in the EU countries by 3 November 1994.


For more information, see:


Industries which extract minerals through drilling: industries practising:
  • extraction, in the strict sense of the word, of minerals through drilling by boreholes (holes drilled in the ground to prospect for oil and other minerals); and/or
  • prospection with a view to such extraction; and/or
  • preparation of extracted materials for sale, excluding the activities of processing the materials extracted.


Council Directive 92/91/EEC of 3 November 1992 concerning minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in the mineral-extracting through drilling (eleventh individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (OJ L348, 28.11.1992, pp. 9-24)

Successive amendments to Directive 92/91/EEC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


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 (OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, pp. 1-8)

See consolidated version.

last update 15.01.2019