EU bodies draw up roadmap to raise carcinogen awareness
Tuesday 31st May 2016
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The covenant was signed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on 25 May 2016 and is valid until 31 December 2019.
The signatories are: the European Agency for Safety and Health and Work (EU-OSHA); the European Commission; the European Trade Union Confederation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection; BusinessEurope; and the Netherlands Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.
The scheme started with the Netherlands' presidency of the EU Council, which was held from 1 January to 30 June 2016.
The initiative, Roadmap on Carcinogens, highlights the importance of keeping workers' exposure below European occupational exposure limits (OELs) for exposure to carcinogens. It comes less than two weeks after the European Commission proposed to control exposure to 13 cancer-causing chemicals and substances (including hardwood dust and crystalline silica) in the workplace via new or amended OELs.
IOSH's No Time to Lose campaign also aims to raise awareness of occupational cancer and has already gained support from EU-OSHA.
Member states, social partners, companies, research body and other organisations across Europe and further afield are encouraged to participate in the voluntary action scheme.
The covenant said: "The signatories of this covenant stress the importance of promoting awareness raising as well as the development and exchange of good practices that prevent or reduce exposure to carcinogens at the workplace.
"The signatories commit themselves to promoting awareness raising as well as the exchange of best practices, by calling upon stakeholders in their networks to participate actively in the exchange of good practices."
The reduction is part of the Commission’s proposal to amend the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC) to limit the exposure to 13 cancer-causing chemicals and substances in the workplace by including new or amended limit values. These limit values set a maximum concentration for airborne carcinogens.If the proposals be are carried through, the EU’s current OEL for hardwood dust will drop from 5mg/m3 to 3mg/m3 and the UK, along with 17 other countries including Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, will have to lower its limits by 2mg/m3.
Participating members - the national standards bodies elected to work on the development of the draft international standard (DIS) - were balloted between 12 February and 12 May on whether to approve it.Seventy-one per cent voted in favour, with 28% against (1% abstained). For the DIS to have passed, two-thirds of members had to be in favour and less than a quarter against, taking into account abstentions.
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