Proposal for a 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

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2016) 248 final (13.5.16)
Publication Date 13/05/2016
Content Type

Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for over 217 million workers in the EU is a strategic goal for the Commission according to its recent Communication on the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 (setting out an occupational health and safety strategy). One of the main challenges identified in the strategy is to improve the prevention of work-related diseases by tackling existing, new and emerging risks.

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, compared with 28% for circulatory diseases and 6% for respiratory diseases.

This proposal aims to improve workers’ health protection by reducing occupational exposure to carcinogenic chemical agents, to increase the effectiveness of the EU legislation in this area and to provide more clarity and a better 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 an 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.

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Related Links
EUR-Lex: COM(2016)248: Follow the progress of this proposal through the decision-making procedure
ESO: Background information: Commission proposes better workers' protection against cancer-causing chemicals
EUR-Lex: SWD(2016)152: Impact assessment
EUR-Lex: SWD(2016)153: Executive summary of the impact assessment

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