RCS workplace exposure prevention
Industry has been and remains a strong advocate of the prevention of workers exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).
Prescribed regulatory occupational exposure limits for RCS exist in almost all European Member States (see OELs list). In addition, the European industry has voluntarily developed a prevention plan targeted at exposure to respirable particles of crystalline silica.
In 2006, industry (employers and employees of 14 industry sectors) developed a Good Practice Guide on Workers’ Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing it. This is the basis of a Social Dialogue Agreement and contains 65 task sheets describing good practice techniques for many work activities. The task sheets identify appropriate control measures that will assist employers in reducing exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica to a minimum.
Published in the EC Official Journal (OJ 2006/C279/02), translated into 22 languages, the Agreement gave rise to the biggest ever awareness campaign on the risks related to exposure to RCS. The Agreement includes a mandatory reporting every two years of its application on site and the effects are visible on the workplaces concerned. The signatories of the Agreement are committed to pursue more research related to the risks of exposure and to regularly update and complete the good practices.
Full information available at www.nepsi.eu.
On 13 May 2016, the EU Commission has issued a proposal [2016/0130(COD)] to include “work involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust generated by a work process” in Annex I of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC). It proposes the establishment of a binding occupational exposure limit at 0.1 mg/m³ (respirable fraction, 8h TWA) in Annex III – limit value approved by the tripartite Advisory Committee for Safety and Health.
The Directive proposal will be subject to the ordinary adoption procedure (through the Council and Parliament) which usually last around 6 months, then there will be a transition period of two years after entry into force of the Directive for the Member States to transpose the Directive in their national legislation.
RCS Workplace Legislation
- What are the regulatory measures taken at EU level since IARC’s Monograph?
- What are the regulatory measures taken by EU Member States?
- What is the status of respirable crystalline silica regarding EU occupational safety and health legislation?
- When will the Carcinogens and Mutagens at work Directive (CMD) take effect?
- What is the Industrial Minerals industry’s view on this proposal?
- Which minerals are concerned by the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) proposal?
- How will this affect value chain users?
- Will the supply of Industrial Minerals be affected?
- How will the replacement obligation apply?
- Which measures do the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive at work (CMD) impose?
- What is the definition of a closed system?
- What will be the impact of the CMD in countries which have already included RCS in their national CMD legislation?
- Most European Member States have already set a limit value for RCS. Will Member States with lower or higher limit values will have to modify their OEL?
- What does this require producers and users to do regarding customer and employee communication?
- It is claimed that cancer is one of the main causes of occupational deaths in EU. How far will this proposal control this?
- How will the Carcinogens and Mutagens at work Directive (CMD) apply to the management of waste containing some amount of RCS in its composition?
- How will the Carcinogens and Mutagens at work Directive (CMD) apply to the management of recycled materials containing some amount of RCS in their composition?
- What preventive measures are applied by industry?
- What is the Social Dialogue Agreement?
- Does the Social Dialogue Agreement contribute to lowering the silicosis risk?