Indicative Occupational Exposure Limits (EU)

Directive 2017/164/EU – indicative occupational exposure limit values of 31 January 2017 establishing a fourth list of indicative occupational exposure limit values pursuant to Council Directive 98/24/EC, and amending Commission Directives 91/322/EEC, 2000/39/EC and 2009/161/EU (Text with EEA relevance) – is in force.

The Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists have the third list of indicative occupational exposure limit values. The fourth list is being added shortly.

The fourth list is based on Council Directive 98/24/EC concerning the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents in the workplace. This was the case for previous indicative lists.

Indicative occupational exposure limit values (IOELV) are health-based, non-binding values, derived from the most recent scientific data available and taking into account the availability of reliable measurement techniques.

For any chemical agent for which an IOELV has been set at European Union level, Member States are required to establish a national occupational exposure limit value. They also are required to take into account the European Union limit value, determining the nature of the national limit value in accordance with national legislation and practice.

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 21 August 2018 at the latest.

Regarding the limit values for nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, Member States will be able to benefit from a transitional period ending at the latest on 21 August 2023.

The 2017 Directive establishes limit values for the following chemical agents:

Manganese and inorganic manganese compounds (as manganese)

Glycerol trinitrate

Carbon tetrachloride; Tetrachloromethane

Amitrole

Acetic acid

Hydrogen cyanide (as cyanide)

Methylene chloride; Dichloromethane

Vinylidene chloride; 1,1-Dichloroethylene

Tetraethyl orthosilicate

Acrylic acid; Prop-2-enoic acid

Nitroethane

Bisphenol A; 4,4′-Isopropylidenediphenol

Diphenyl ether

2-ethylhexan-1-ol

1,4-Dichlorobenzene; p-Dichlorobenzene

Acrolein; Acrylaldehyde; Prop-2-enal

Methyl formate

But-2-yne-1,4-diol

Tetrachloroethylene

Ethyl acetate

Sodium cyanide (as cyanide)

Potassium cyanide (as cyanide)

Diacetyl; Butanedione

Carbon monoxide

Calcium dihydroxide

Calcium oxide

Sulphur dioxide

Lithium hydride

Nitrogen monoxide

Nitrogen dioxide

Terphenyl, hydrogenated

Skin absorption feature of ten substances is noted.

Of the 33 substances above, 4 were already listed in the Annex to Commission Directive 91/322/EEC, one was listed in the Annex to Commission Directive 2000/39/EC and one in the Annex to Commission Directive 2009/161/EU. The establishment of new indicative limit values was recommended by SCOEL for the above six substances listed in the Annex to this Directive. They will be deleted from the Annexes to the previous directives on 21 August 2018.

The further lists on indicative occupational exposure limit values (in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists):

• Commission Directive 91/322/EEC establishing indicative limit values

• Commission Directive 2000/39/EC establishing a first list of indicative occupational exposure limit values

• Commission Directive 2006/15/EC establishing a second list of indicative occupational exposure limit values

• Commission Directive 2009/161/EU establishing a third list of indicative occupational exposure limit values

UK – the EH40 list is reissuedhere (and will be added shortly to Registers and Law Checklists)

Ditto the Ireland list is updated, and Continental European Registers and Law Checklists will have their current lists updated.

Nuclear Safety Standards (Euratom/EU)

I blog posted recently about the UK Nuclear Safeguards Bill (a UK Brexit Bill). This Bill does not cover radiation health rules (which are also regulated by EU/Euratom). 

The Euratom/European Union Basic Safety Standards Directive 2013 (BSSD) sets out updated safety requirements for the nuclear and radiological sector; the deadline for transposition of these into UK law is 6 February 2018

The BSSD 2013 updates the 1996 BSSD that is included in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment OHS Register 601. It simplifies existing Euratom provisions for protection against harmful effects of ionising radiation, and consolidates those provisions in line with the latest international standards.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for coordinating the transposition of the Directive across Government, there are five workstreams to the Directive: emergency preparedness and response, medical exposures, public exposures, occupational exposures, and air and space crew where compliance is necessary.

The emergency response and public exposures requirements of BSSD are led by BEIS and occupational exposure requirements are led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The intention is to use the powers in the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Energy Act 2012 to make the required legislative changes within the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (REPPIR) 2001 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations (CDG) 2009 and the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 (IRR99).

HSE has now consulted on occupational exposures policy and are finalising the proposed changes to the IRRs (this document is here); BEIS has launched a consultation on emergency preparedness and response policy with suggested changes to REPPIR & CDG (see here). BEIS is also planning to launch a consultation on the public exposures elements of the Directive.

The other workstreams are led by different Government departments, with medical exposures being led by the Department for Health and air and space crew by the Department for Transport.

Re Brexit : it is presumed these rules will be dealt with under the EU Withdrawal Bill (a key UK Brexit Bill), once it is enacted, since they are not dealt with under the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. 

Subscribers to Cardinal EHS Legislation Registers will see Email Alerts re the changes to the CDG and IRR99. 

Asbestos Protective Clothing Fine

Asbestos protective clothing safety failings has resulted in a fine for the site supervisor of a specialist asbestos contractor, after he ignored the company’s procedures on working with asbestos and broke the law.

Speaking after the hearing, the inspector from Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said:

“Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibres are released into the air. That’s why asbestos can only be removed by specialist contractors but, the site supervisor put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures. He simply should never have allowed three men to go into a contaminated area while wearing their own clothes, and without the correct protective clothing and respiratory masks. Workers, their families and anyone else who came into contact with them would have been put at risk as a result of his decision to allow the men to wear lace-up boots and the clothes they intended to go home in. Thankfully, we were able to stop the work and make sure the clothes were disposed of as contaminated waste.”

Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.”

Here is the HSE press release on the matter.

Asbestos (Boiler Removal) Fine

Release of asbestos dust and fibres took place during work to remove industrial boilers, associated fixed pipework and a boiler house at a redundant manufacturing site. The dangerous material then remained exposed until a clean-up operation commenced two days later.

Prosecution of the owners of the derelict manufacturing site and the contractor resulted in fines for safety failings and breach of long-standing asbestos laws.

Here is the Press Release of Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (taking the enforcement action).

Update: here is the same offence at another derelict factory (this time it is removal of kiln carts from a disused pottery).