The directive on carcinogens and mutagens requires reduction and replacement to the extent technically possible of carcinogens and mutagens with less dangerous substances.

Carcinogens and mutagens must be manufactured and used in a closed system.  The level of exposure, if absolutely necessary, must be as low as technically possible.  Exposure limits may not exceed those specified in the directive. Competent authorities must be furnished with information on the reasons for using carcinogens and mutagens

If any unforeseeable incidents or accidents occur, employers must inform employees.  Protective clothing and respiratory personal protective equipment must be worn and exposure must be kept to the minimum necessary. Access to risk areas must be strictly limited

Measures must be taken to

  • ensure hygiene and personal protection
  • ensuring that eating, drinking and smoking does not occur in an area in risk of contamination
  • supply of appropriate clothes
  • provide washing and toilet facilities
  • proper storage and clean protective equipment before and after use

There must be proper information, training and consultation with employees.  Packages, installations, and containers containing carcinogens and mutagens must be clearly and legibly  labelled.  Warning signs must be clear.

Health monitoring of exposed workers is required. An individual medical file is to be created.  Records must be kept up-to-date. There are limit values for particular substances

The directive on biological agents applies to various groups of microorganism, cell cultures and endoparasites which may provoke infection allergy or toxicity.  The directive classifies them into four categories

The risk of exposure to biological agents must be appraised based on the danger of all hazardous biological agents present. Where possible, agents must be replaced.

Exposure to risks must be prevented.  Where this is not technically possible, the exposure risk must be reduced to as low a level as possible.  There are various methods specified, including limiting exposure, collective protection measures, storage and disposal of waste.

The competent authority must be informed of

  • the details of the assessment,
  • activities in which workers may be exposed,
  • number of workers exposed,
  • the protective and preventive measures

Hygiene and individual protection procedures are prescribed.  This includes

  • restricting  eating and working in area subject to risk
  • Protective clothing
  • Adequate washing and toilet facilities with skin antiseptics and eye washes as appropriate protective equipment

Information and training of employees with regard to potential risk, precautions, hygiene requirement, protective equipment, and clothing is required. In certain cases, written instructions in respect of particular categories of agents is required.

Immediate information is required in respect of possible accidents and incidents.  The requirements vary according to the group of biological agents concerned.

Surveillance is required in accordance with the directive. Vaccines may be required. Records must be kept for 10 years after exposure and in some cases for up to 40 years.  The doctor responsible proposes protective or preventive measures to be taken.

Employees have access to all records concerning them.  All diseases and death must be notified to the competent authority.  Private health and veterinary care facilities are subject to specific decontamination, disinfection, and other procedures.

Equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres is subject to very strict provisions for certification with CE conformity marking.  They do not qualify for such marking unless the procedures and requirements specified in the directive are met. The purpose is to ensure that equipment and protective systems meet the highest standards.

The Directive provides that part-time workers and workers under temporary employment contracts with  agencies are entitled with the full benefit of health safety and welfare at work legislation.

Such workers must be informed of any risks they face in the same manner as full-time employees.  They must be informed of any special occupational qualifications, skills or medical surveillance required.

Temporary workers must not be used for work requiring special medical surveillance over a long period.  Where exceptions are made, surveillance must continue beyond the temporary employment contract. States may ban temporary workers for work that is particularly dangerous, including that requiring special medical surveillance.

During the assignment, the employer is responsible for the safety, health and hygiene conditions in which the employee has to work, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the temporary employment business.

There are specific directives in respect of a number of different types of harmful materials.

There is a directive on the exposure of employees to asbestos. It prohibits the application of asbestos by means of spraying processes and all activities that involve using low level insulating or soundproofing materials or the extraction, manufacture, or processing of asbestos including products containing asbestos.

The processing and disposal of products resulting from demolition and asbestos removal shall be permitted. The exposure of the employee must be reduced to a minimum with regard to

  • Number of workers.
  • Work processes which must not produce dust in the air.
  • Premises and equipment which must be clean and maintained.
  • Storage and transport in suitable, sealed packing.
  • Collection of waste.

Employers must ensure that no worker is exposed to airborne concentration of asbestos in excess of the quantities specified in the directive.

A risk assessment must be carried out before beginning an activity involving exposure to asbestos dust or materials containing asbestos. It must be based on representative sampling.

There are requirements regarding measurement of asbestos in the air.

Before commencement of work, the employer must inform its national authorities of

  • Location of worksite.
  • Type and quantity of asbestos.
  • Activities and processes involved.
  • Number of workers.
  • Duration of work.
  • Measures taken to limit exposure.

The space where work is carried out must be accessible only to employees and must be demarcated and signed.

The demolition or asbestos removal work must take place according to pre-established plan aimed at guaranteeing removal of asbestos before demolition techniques are applied and reducing the risks to a minimum.

Employees must receive training regarding the properties of asbestos, its effect on health, emergency decontamination and medical surveillance procedures.

Each employee’s health must be assessed before exposure to asbestos. Health record must be established in order to provide for protective or preventative measures. Medical surveillance may be required to continue after termination of work. Each state must provide a register of recognized cases of diseases relating to asbestos.

The directive in respect of risks of explosive atmospheres requires technical or organizational measures to prevent formation of explosive atmospheres, prevent ignition of explosive atmospheres, and reduce the effects of explosion in such a way that workers are not at risk.

Employees must ensure health and safety protection document describing explosion protection measures and satisfying the directive requirements are kept up to date. Workers and representatives must be informed of all measures taken for the health and safety.

Workers must receive appropriate training. Work equipment for use in explosive atmospheres must comply with the requirements specified in the directive.

The workplaces where explosive atmospheres may occur, prior to commencement of the directive, they must comply with minimum requirements not later than 3 years after commencement.

An explosive atmosphere is a mixture of air, a flammable substance in the form of gas, vapors, mists, dust, in which after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.

The directive sets out classifications of places where explosive atmospheres may occur. It describes minimum requirements for improving health and safety of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmosphere and criteria for the selection of equipment and protected systems. Warning signs are required where explosive atmospheres may occur.


Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents. 

Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *