New European Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (EU)

A further stage is reached yesterday in the creation of a new EU Directive to amend the existing Directive on this topic to introduce stricter limits on exposure values and skin notations for five carcinogens as well as skin notations independently of limit values for two more carcinogens, covering seven carcinogens in total.

The carcinogenic and mutagenic substances covered by the directive are the following: Mineral Oils that have been used before in internal combustion engines, certain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) mixtures, trichloroethylene, 4,4′-methylenedianiline, epichlorohydrine, ethylene dibromide, ethylene dichloride. 

The European Commission had submitted in January 2017 the proposed revision which concerns in particular annexes I and III of directive 2004/37/EC. 

The retained limit values are based on an analysis of economic, social and environmental impacts of the different policy options for each chemical agent, on the criteria of the scientific advice of the scientific committee on occupational exposure limits (SCOEL), effectiveness, efficiency and coherence. 

The limit values were also agreed by the advisory committee on health and safety at work (ACSH). 

This revision follows an earlier Commission proposal which already included 13 carcinogenic agents.

A further package of proposed limit values is expected to be adopted by the Commission at the beginning of next year. 

The current documents are found here

High Rise Tower Fire Checks (UK)

Update 6th July : new fire tests are ordered on cladding. So far, tests have covered only the plastic “core” on panels similar to those used on Grenfell Tower (and all but one fire test was a failure – 190 out of 191 samples). The new process will subject a demonstration wall to a “severe fire in a flat breaking out of a window” and aim to establish whether it will then spread up the outside wall. It will also assess how different types of aluminium composite material (ACM) panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said.

Update 22nd June : DCLG letter is issued to local authorities and housing authorities of immediate safety tests to be undertaken should the cladding material fail Fire tests – this letter is here

Update 16th June : a public inquiry is announced amid calls for an inquest to be held into the deaths. Scotland Yard will also conduct a criminal investigation. 

A devastating fire started last night in a high rise tower block in Kensington, West London – many of you will be watching the news reels that are covering this.

Nick Hurd, appointed yesterday as Police and Fire Minister, has announced immediate fire safety checks of similar high rise blocks. The scope of these checks is not presently clear. The instruction appears to be to Local Authorities. 

Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 (fire safety) is in the spotlight and has been with the government for review since 2016, following a devasting fire in another tower bloc in 2009 and that coroner’s report issued in 2013. The current Part B documents are here

Please remember that employers’ obligations vis a vis Fire Safety are consolidated by the Fire Safety Order (the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005), and its equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland, these are in EHS Legislation Register systems, in the various Fire Safety Registers. The Building Regulations are found in ENV Energy. I will add the Part B documents to the OHS Fire Registers for completeness.

The Building Regulations are in the spotlight because of eye witness observations of the fast speed of fire spread. 

Concerns over external cladding were raised in the UK as early as 1999, here

This post will be updated, as and when further regulatory information is available. 

UK exits EU next steps (UK & EU)

The UK has 10 days before it’s population decides the next government on 8 June. On 19 June, negotiations begin to settle the terms for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. 

The EU has committed itself to transparency principles here

Information about the EU task force that is involved is located here.

Cardinal Environment Limited will continue to support its customers through this process. The law of individual EU and EEA member states is not affected. 

Scottish Independence Referendum II (Scotland)

Scotland’s First Minister has today written to the UK Prime Minister to begin early discussions to allow a referendum on Scottish independence to take place.

It comes after the Scottish Parliament voted to give the Scottish Government a mandate for a Section 30 order under the Scotland Act 1998 to enable a referendum. An independence referendum held in 2014 gave a result in favour of remaining in the UK Union. 

The letter that has been sent is published on the website of the Scottish Government, and is located here

It is already possible to subscribe to Scotland EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists, as part of Cardinal Environment Limited services. In the event that this second referendum results in Scotland exiting the UK Union, then any subscriber to Britain EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists will be offered subscription to Scotland, England and Wales as separate systems (and Britain will be discontinued). Northern Ireland is only offered as a separate system. 

Exiting the EU (UK & EU)

Further developments yesterday and today are set out below :

(1) the UK will also exit the European Economic Area (EEA) – this involves Article 127 of the EEA Agreement – a White Paper is expected on this. This is in addition to exiting the EU and Euratom.

(2) the European Parliament issued a draft Motion for a Resolution on the negotiations with the United Kingdom – this document is here.

(3) the European Council issued draft Guidelines for the negotiations, these were issued to 27 Member States and will be finalised at the EU27 meeting on 29th April – these Guidelines are here (curtesy of the Irish state broadcaster RTE).

On foot of these further developments, Email Alerts to subscribers to Cardinal Environment Limited EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists will be sent on Monday.

Exiting the EU (UK)

The UK Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) has today published its Great Repeal Bill White Paper “Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union”. 

The White Paper is here

Email Alerts will be sent tomorrow to Subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists.

The proposed changes are substantive: some 1,000 statutory instruments are expected, as well as up to 15 bills. The actions will :

(1) Repeal the European Communities Act

(2) Convert EU Law to UK Law (directly applicable EU law is not written out in UK Law because it didn’t need to be)

(3) Create powers to make statutory instruments to correct UK Law

Exiting the EU (UK & EU)

Today the UK notified its trigger of article 50 withdrawal from the European Union. In addition, the UK is also withdrawing from Euratom. 

In line with our company decision, communicated in an earlier blog post, to split the company operations into UK/Ireland and Overseas/European, the IT works for this are well commenced. To keep costs at a minimum, through what is a costly change in the UK EHS regulatory regime, we will not base the International/European operations in Canary Wharf. We will instead run these, at least for the moment, from the company’s registered office. 

Since the Republic of Ireland is not exiting with the UK, we will handle its work as part of International/European. The UK work will continue to be handled in Watford. Any changes to invoice arrangements will be communicated to relevant persons, as and when necessary. For now there are no changes to invoice handling.

We will be following the specifics of the exiting process on the website of the Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdon that is set up by the European Commission for the purpose. 

The European Council statement and the UK Prime Minister notification letter issued today are found in here