How will the replacement obligation apply?

As written under Article 4 of the 2004/37/EC Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive at work (CMD), “in so far as technically possible, employers must reduce the use of a carcinogen / mutagen by replacing it with substances / mixtures / processes which are not or are less dangerous”.

In the case of respirable crystalline silica, the entry in Annex I of the Directive 2017/2398 covers:

“Work involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust generated by a work process”.

It means that the replacement obligation applies to the work processes which generate respirable crystalline silica dust.

In practical terms, the manufacturers and users of crystalline silica and products containing it will do a risk assessment and envisage the replacement of processes which generate RCS dust by other processes not generating RCS dust, if it is technically possible.

A typical example would be wet processes which prevent particles from becoming airborne and thus prevent exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Good practices such as those of the NEPSI Agreement provide useful guidance on how to implement this replacement obligation and other exposure minimization measures of the CMD in an informed and tailored way.