Protecting workers from the dangers of eleven carcinogenic and mutagenic substances is the objective of a revised directive on which the European Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement on Tuesday. “This agreement, which has been expected by employees on the ground for ten years, is a first step towards better protection of workers’ health”, said MEP Claude Rolin (cdH), an unofficial reporter for Parliament. “Advances made during negotiations ensure that more lives are saved and medical follow-up of workers is achieved, including after work activity has ended, as work-related illnesses are often triggered years after exposure and are detected very late, if not too late.”
The compromise approved on Tuesday by the Permanent Representatives of the Member States (COREPER) makes it possible to limit workers’ exposure to eleven carcinogenic substances, including wood dust, chromium VI and alveolar crystalline silica. This is more than the seven substances that have been proposed by the European Commission.
In the case of reprotoxic substances, which impair the fertility or development of the unborn child, the agreement refers to the Commission the responsibility to evaluate the possibility of including them and to produce a related report for the first Quadrimester of 2019 at the latest. The text still has to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council.