Vern av arbeidstakere mot kreftfremkallende stoffer eller mutagener: endringsbestemmelser

Tittel

Forslag til europaparlaments- og rådsdirektiv om endring av direktiv 2004/37/EF om vern av arbeidstakere mot risiko ved å være utsatt for kreftfremkallende eller arvestoffskadelige stoffer i arbeidet

Proposal for Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work

Siste nytt

Foreløpig holdning vedtatt av Rådet 15.6.2017. Statusrapport publisert av Europaparlamentets utredningsavdeling 17.5.2017

Nærmere omtale

BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsforslaget, engelsk utgave)

Reasons for and objectives of the proposal

This proposal aims to improve workers’ health protection by reducing occupational exposure to carcinogenic chemical agents, to provide more clarity and to contribute to a level playing field for economic operators. It is among the priority actions identified in the Commission Work Programme for 2016. With this initiative the Commission delivers on its commitment to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the EU framework for protecting workers. The intention is also to continue this important work and to conduct further impact assessments with a view to propose limit values for additional carcinogens.

Estimates of the recent and future burden of occupational diseases indicate that work-related cancer is a problem and will remain so in the future as a result of exposure of workers to carcinogens. Cancer is the first cause of work-related deaths in the EU. Annually, 53 % of occupational deaths are attributed to cancer. According to a 2016 report by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) 91,500-150,500 people were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2012, caused by past exposure to carcinogenic substances at work. Between 57,700 – 106,500 people died in 2012 as a result of a work-related cancer. That means that every hour in EU, between 7-12 people die of cancer because of past exposure to carcinogenic substances at work.

The Commission took a first step to address these issues by adopting on 13 May 2016 a legislative proposal to amend Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (‘the Directive’) with a view to revise or to introduce exposure limit values for 13 chemical agents. In accordance with Article 16 of the Directive, the Council shall set such limit values on the basis of the available information, including scientific and technical data, in respect of all those carcinogens or mutagens for which this is possible, in Annex III to the Directive. Pursuant to Article 17 (1) of the Directive, Annex I and III to the Directive may be amended in accordance only with the procedure laid down in Article 153 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) (ordinary legislative procedure).

The Commission is now taking a further step in a longer-term process of updating the Directive with regard to 7 more carcinogens and proposes to establish limit values and/or skin notations. According to the impact assessment this is estimated to result in increased protection for at least 4 million workers and improved clarity for employers and enforcers. Together it is estimated that both proposals would prevent over 100,000 deaths caused by work-related cancer.

In accordance with Article 16 of the Directive, the Commission pursues its work to set further limit values and additional chemical agents are currently under assessement with a view to a future amendment of the Directive.

The provisions of the Directive apply to any chemical agent that meets the criteria for classification as a category 1A or 1B carcinogen set out in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP). This Regulation lists 'harmonised' (mandatory) classifications for 1017 chemical substances as Category 1 carcinogens (‘known or presumed human carcinogens’) on the basis of epidemiological and/or animal data. Another important classification process, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer ('IARC'), has identified nearly 500 agents that are carcinogenic for humans (Group 1; 118 agents), probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A; 75) or possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B; 288).

The provisions of the Directive also apply to any substance, mixture or process referred to in Annex I to that Directive, as well as to any substance or mixture released by a process referred to in that Annex. Annex I to the Directive currently includes a list of identified processes and process-generated substances. The aim is to clarify for workers, employers, and enforcers whether a given chemical agent or process, if it has not otherwise been classified according to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, is in the scope of the Directive. Currently, Annex I has five entries.

The Directive sets a number of general minimum requirements to eliminate or reduce exposure for all carcinogens and mutagens falling under its scope. Employers must identify and assess risks to workers associated with exposure to specific carcinogens (and mutagens) at the workplace, and must prevent exposure where risks occur. Substitution with a non or less-hazardous process or chemical agent is required where this is technically possible. Where substitution is not technically possible chemical carcinogens must, as far as it is technically possible, be manufactured and used in a closed system to prevent exposure. Where this is not technically possible, worker exposure must be reduced to as low a level as is technically possible. This is the minimisation obligation under Article 5(2) and Article 5 (3) of the Directive.

In addition to these general minimum requirements, the Directive clearly indicates that the setting of occupational exposure limit values for the inhalation route of exposure for particular carcinogens and mutagens is an integral part of the mechanism for protecting workers. Those values still need to be set for the chemical agents for which no such values exist and be revised whenever this becomes possible in the light of more recent scientific data. Occupational exposure limit values for specific carcinogens or mutagens are set in Annex III to the Directive. Currently, Annex III has three entries.

Occupational exposure limit values set under the Directive should, when appropriate, be revised to take into account new scientific data, improvements in measurement techniques, risk management measures and other relevant factors.

On this basis, it is proposed to take two specific measures:

(a)

Include in Annex I to the Directive work involving exposure to oils that have been used before in internal combustion engines to lubricate and cool the moving parts within the engine and establish a corresponding skin notation in Part B of Annex III to the Directive

The International Agency for Research on Cancer ('IARC') assessed the carcinogenicity of "mineral oils" in 1983 and 1987 and concluded that there is sufficient evidence from studies in humans that mineral oils (containing various additives and impurities) that have been used in occupations such as mulespinning, metal machining and jute processing are carcinogenic to humans. This IARC assessment also covers mineral oils that have been used in engines. The final IARC evaluation does not explicitly mention "mineral oils as used engine oils", but concludes that there is sufficient evidence from studies in humans that "untreated and mildly treated mineral oils" are carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 1). IARC reviewed the assessment based on new data in Monograph 100F (2012) and maintained that categorization in relation to skin cancer. The Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits ('SCOEL') evaluated the health effects on workers at work of "mineral oils as used engine oils", defined as "oils that have been used before in internal combustion engines to lubricate and cool the moving parts within the engine" (hereinafter, "mineral oils as used engine oils"). Taking into consideration the IARC assessment, SCOEL, in accordance with its methodology, concluded that "mineral oils as used engine oils" are carcinogenic group A with no indication for a mode of action-based threshold.

The skin notation to be set out in Part B of Annex III proposed in this initiative was strongly recommended by SCOEL, which assessed that occupational exposure to mineral oils as used engine oils occurs through the dermal route. The notation, which indicates the possibility of significant dermal uptake, was agreed by the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work ('ACSH').

Mineral oils as used engine oils are not placed on the market as such, but are process-generated, and therefore they are not classified in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008. However, the Directive makes provisions for the inclusion in Annex I of substances or mixtures or processes as well as substances or mixtures released by a process referred to in that Annex which, although not subject to the classification obligation in accordance with the said Regulation, meet the criteria for classification as a carcinogen. Mineral oils as used engine oils fall within this category.

(b)

Establish in Annex III limit values supplemented by skin notations for further 5 additional carcinogens, as well as skin notations independently of limit values for 2 carcinogens, including for mineral oils as used engine oils.

Available information, including scientific data confirms the need to complete Annex III with limit values supplemented by skin notations for 5 additional carcinogens. SCOEL submitted recommendations for these carcinogens. For 2 carcinogens, SCOEL identified the possibility of significant dermal uptake and recommended the establishment of skin notations.The ACSH was consulted on all aspects of this proposal, in accordance with Article 2(2)(f) of the Council Decision of 22 July 2003. With regard to the values proposed, socio-economic feasibility factors have been taken into account further to the consultation of the ACSH.