Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2022) 489
Publication Date 28/09/2022
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Legislative initiative tabled by the European Commission on 28 September 2022, introducing amendments to Directive 2009/148/EC concerning the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work.

Further information:

Occupational cancer is the first cause of work-related deaths in the European Union (EU). It is primarily caused by exposure to carcinogenic substances such as asbestos. The progressive ban on the use of asbestos in the EU began in 1988 with the prohibition of crocidolite and was subsequently extended to cover other asbestos-containing materials. Since 2005, all forms of asbestos are banned in the EU.

Council Directive 83/447/EEC was the first piece of legislation aimed at protecting workers from the specific risks of workplace exposure to asbestos. The Directive was substantially amended several times until its most recent codified version (Directive 2009/148/EC), also known as as the Asbestos at Work Directive (AWD). The AWD protects workers against risks to their health arising or likely to arise from exposure to asbestos at work, including by preventing such risks.  Under the AWD, for all activities in which workers are or may be exposed to dust from asbestos or materials containing asbestos, exposure must be reduced to a minimum and in any case below the fixed binding occupational-exposure limit (OEL) of 0.1 fibres/cm3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).

The proposed amendment of the AWD aims to make the OEL under the Directive more effective by updating it on the basis of the latest available scientific evidence.

The draft Directive was tabled by the European Commission on 28 September 2022, alongside a Communication focusing on work towards an asbestos-free future.

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Related Links
News, 28/09/2022: EU commission lowers threshold for asbestos exposure by factor of 10

EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)310: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Subsidiarity Grid
EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)311: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Impact Assessment
EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)312: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment
EU European Environment Agency (EEA): Asbestos
European Commission: Press Release, 28/09/2022: Commission acts to better protect people from asbestos and ensure an asbestos-free future
European Commission: Questions and Answers: Towards an asbestos-free future (28 September 2022)
European Commission: Statement by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Schmit on protecting people from asbestos and minimum income (28 September 2022)
S&D EP Group: Newsroom, 28/09/2022: S&Ds disappointed with the proposed revision of workers’ protection from asbestos

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