Tag Archives: Prevention

European schedule of occupational diseases

European schedule of occupational diseases

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European schedule of occupational diseases

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

European schedule of occupational diseases

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 2003/670/EC of 19 September 2003 concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases.

Summary

The Commission recommends, without prejudice to more favourable national laws or regulations, that the Member States:

  • introduce into their national legislation the European schedule in Annex I. This list covers the diseases which have been scientifically recognised as being occupational in origin, which are liable for compensation and which must be the subject of preventive measures;
  • work to introduce into their national legislation a law on compensation for occupational diseases whose origin and occupational nature can be proved, particularly if the disease is listed in Annex II;
  • progressively make their statistics concerning occupational diseases compatible with the schedule in Annex I;
  • develop preventive measures, by involving all interested parties and, where appropriate, by exchanging information, experience and good practice through the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work;
  • establish national quantified objectives with a view to reducing the rate of recognised occupational diseases, particularly those mentioned in Annex I;
  • take special account of medical information notices on diseases in the European schedule and supply other Member States, on request, with all the relevant information on diseases or agents recognised in their national legislation;
  • encourage national health systems to contribute actively towards disease prevention, in particular by raising the awareness of medical personnel in order to improve knowledge and diagnosis of these diseases;
  • introduce a system for the collection and exchange of data on the epidemiology of diseases, especially those listed in Annex II, and promote research.

The Member States themselves determine the criteria for recognising each occupational disease.

Context

This recommendation replaces Commission Recommendation 90/326/EEC of 22 May 1990 concerning the adoption of a European schedule of occupational diseases.
This new recommendation is required in order to take account of data deriving from scientific and technical progress in this field, to have an up-to-date instrument in the run-up to the European Union’s impending enlargement, and to do justice to the special interest the ” new Community strategy on safety and health at work 2002-2006 ” places on enhanced prevention of occupational diseases.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Recommendation 2003/670/CE

OJ L 238 of 25.09.2003

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 20 September 1996 concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases [COM(96) 454 final].

In the light of information provided by the Member States, the Commission has reviewed progress in implementing the 1990 recommendation: the Member States have made great efforts to conform to Annex I to the recommendation. The Commission takes the view that at present it would be premature to propose binding legislation to replace the recommendation. However, it does intend to consider this option when the European schedule of occupational diseases is updated. This is due to take place in the first half of 2001 and is designed to take account of technical and scientific progress and the results of the work and projects currently under way to improve, inter alia, the collection, comparability and epidemiological analysis of statistics on occupational diseases.

Commission Recommendation 90/326/EEC of 22 May 1990 concerning the adoption of a European schedule of occupational diseases.

Community strategy on health and safety at work

Community strategy on health and safety at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community strategy on health and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Community strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006)

The aim of this strategy is to facilitate the application of existing health and safety at work legislation and to come up with new ideas for the period in question. It is based on an inventory of the current situation, on the basis of which the Commission reiterates the three prerequisites for a safe and healthy workplace: consolidating risk prevention culture, better application of existing law and a global approach to well-being at work. To meet these conditions, the Community strategy proposes three main approaches: adapting the legal framework, support for innovative approaches (formulation of best practices, social dialogue, corporate social responsibility) and finally the mainstreaming of health and safety at work in other Community policies.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 11 March 2002 on a Community strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006) [COM(2002) 118 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

1. The Lisbon European Council highlighted the fact that Europe is currently experiencing the transition to a knowledge economy characterised by profound changes in the composition of the active population, forms of employment and risks at the workplace. Identifying the various trends helps to better define the problems for which the health and safety at work strategy will have to provide solutions.

ADAPTING TO CHANGES IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Trends in the active population: feminisation and ageing

2. Trends in the active population call for a global approach to the quality of employment, taking into account the specific situation of different age brackets and the gender dimension.

3. For example, the steady rise in the numbers of women whose work calls for specific measures in some areas: women are not susceptible to the same types of occupational diseases as men and have different types of industrial accidents. The differences between the sexes must be better taken into account in the legislation. To this end, action must be taken with regard to the ergonomics of workstations, and physiological and psychological differences must be taken on board in the organisation of work.

4. By the same token, older workers (50 years plus) tend to have more serious industrial accidents leading to higher mortality, as they tend to be over-represented in the more dangerous manual occupations.

Diversification of forms of employment

5. The increase in temporary contracts and unconventional hours (shift or night work) are factors that increase the dangers to which workers are exposed. These workers are often poorly trained, sometimes demotivated because of the unstable nature of their contract and suffering from psychosomatic problems caused by their working hours. New forms of employment, such as teleworking, lead to the appearance of new problems of which more account must be taken.

The changing nature of the risks

6. Changes in work organisation (target-driven approaches and greater flexibility) have a profound effect on health at work and on the well-being of workers in general. Problems such as stress, depression, violence, harassment and intimidation at work are rising fast and, by 1999, already accounted for 18% of all work-related health problems. Strategies to prevent these new social risks should also incorporate the incidence of addictions, in particular alcoholism and drug addiction, on accident frequency.

THREE PREREQUISITES FOR A HIGH QUALITY WORKING ENVIRONMENT

A global approach to well-being at work

7. The Community’s health and safety at work policy should promote real well-being at work, be it physical, emotional or social, which is more than merely the absence of occupational accidents or diseases. To this end, the following additional measures must be taken:

  • continuing reduction in industrial accidents and occupational diseases (quantifiable objectives should be set at Community and national level);
  • prevention of social and emotional problems (stress, harassment at work, depression, anxiety and addiction);
  • better prevention of occupational diseases, in particular the diseases linked to asbestos, hearing loss and musculoskeletal complaints;
  • more consideration of demographic trends in occupational risks, accidents and diseases (older workers and protection of young people at work);
  • gender mainstreaming in risk assessment, prevention measures and compensation arrangements;
  • more consideration of changes in the forms of work and work organisation (temporary and unconventional work);
  • taking on board the specific problems of SMEs, micro-enterprises and self-employed workers.

A real culture of prevention

8. Improving knowledge of risks involves:

  • education and training (raising awareness in schools’ programmes, teaching in vocational programmes and in the context of continuing vocational training);
  • raising employers’ awareness of the issues involved in creating a well managed working environment;
  • anticipating new and emerging risks, whether linked to technological innovations or social trends (creation of a risk observatory within the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work).

This Agency should play a key role in these awareness-raising and anticipation activities.

Better application of existing law

9. The proper application of Community law is a prerequisite for improving the quality of the working environment. The Commission, in conjunction with the social partners, will accordingly be drafting guides to applying the relevant directives which will take into account the diversity of companies and sectors of activity. Moreover, the Commission will be developing activities to encourage, through close collaboration between the national authorities, the correct and equivalent implementation of the directives. In this context, the development of joint inspection objectives and joint methods of assessment for the national inspection systems must be promoted, and the inspections carried out by the inspectorates in the Member States must lead to uniform penalties which are dissuasive, proportionate and effectively applied.

A GLOBAL APPROACH COMBINING LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AND PARTNERSHIPS

10. Promoting a high-quality work environment, taking on board the three dimensions above, calls for a global approach based on all the available mechanisms.

Adapting the legal and institutional framework:

  • adapting existing directives to scientific developments and technological progress;
  • analysing the national reports on the application of the directives in order to identify the difficulties faced by the various actors in the implementation of the legislation;
  • new provisions, including extending the scope of the Directive on carcinogens, creating a new legislative framework on the ergonomics of workstations, a communication on musculoskeletal disorders and new legislation on emerging risks (inter alia, bullying and violence at work);
  • streamlining the legal framework: codifying the existing directives and drafting a single implementation report to replace the specific reports provided for in the various directives;
  • merger of the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work and the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and Other Extractive Industries.

Support for innovative approaches:

  • Benchmarking and the identification of best practices should:

    – promote convergence in the Member States, with the setting of national objectives to cut accidents, occupational diseases and lost days as a result of accidents or illnesses;
    – lead to a better definition of emerging phenomena such as stress-related complaints and illnesses and musculoskeletal disorders;
    – develop knowledge of and monitor the economic and social costs of accidents and occupational diseases.

  • Voluntary agreements concluded by the social partners

    Social dialogue and action by the inter-professional and sectoral social partners are good ways of tackling the specific risks and problems of particular occupations and sectors. They often lead to the drafting of good practices, codes of conduct or even framework agreements.

  • The social responsibility of businesses and competitiveness

    Many companies consider creating a safe and healthy working environment to be an important criterion in their choice of subcontractors and the marketing of their products. Health and safety at work is being included ever more often in voluntary certification and labelling initiatives. A healthy working environment is part of a global approach to managing quality which leads to better performance and competitiveness. The relationship between health and safety at work and competitiveness is more complicated than just the cost of complying with certain standards. In fact, the absence of a policy can lead to a loss of productivity which is far worse in terms of cost.

  • Economic incentives

    The fixing of insurance premiums for companies on the basis of their accident frequency represents a real financial incentive. This practice should be applied more systematically.

Mainstreaming of health and safety at work in other Community policies

11. Well-being at work cannot be achieved exclusively through health and safety policy. It is closely linked to other Community policies, such as the European Employment Strategy, public health policy, the placing on the market of work equipment and chemical products and other protection policies based on prevention (e.g. in transport, fishing, the environment).

THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION TO HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

Preparation for enlargement

12. The following measures should be applied in order to ensure the application of the acquis:

  • stepping up the technical assistance programmes and exchanges of experiences based on partnership and twinning formulas;
  • stepping up social dialogue;
  • promoting the collection and analysis of data on occupational accidents and diseases.

Development of international cooperation

13. Linking the activities of the Commission with those of other international organisations (e.g. the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation) is vital, especially in fields such as combating child labour and the impact of alcohol and drug addiction on health and safety at work.
As part of the Council’s work, this coordination has led to the adoption, in the context of International Labour Conferences, of an agreement and a recommendation on the safety and health of workers in mining and in agriculture, a protocol and a recommendation on the recording and declaration of industrial accidents and occupational diseases, including the revision of the schedule of occupational diseases, and the adoption of a resolution on safety and health at work.

Cooperation with third countries, particularly those around the Mediterranean, the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) is essential to ensure that minimum standards are respected.
Finally, the cooperation and exchanges of experiences in the field of health and safety at work developed as part of the transatlantic pact with the United States should be stepped up.

CONTEXT

14. This Strategy succeeds the 1995 Commission Communication on a Community Programme concerning safety, hygiene and heath at work (1996-2000).
At that time, the focus was on the following points:

  • the establishment and operation of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao;
  • the correct transposition of the various directives and their practical application (assessment reports, monitoring of the labour inspectorate);
  • creating a safety culture in the business sector;
  • developing the link with employability (the quality of employees’ work depends largely on their working conditions).

Key terms used in the act

  • In 1998, 5500 workers died as a result of an occupational accident, and 4.8 million accidents led to more than three days’ absence from work. Compared to the situation in 1994, the frequency of occupational accidents has dropped by almost 10%.
  • Fishing, agriculture, building, health care and social services had rates more than 30% above the average.
  • The extractive industries, manufacturing, transport and hospitality had rates more than 15% above the average


Another Normative about Community strategy on health and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Community strategy on health and safety at work (2007-2012)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 21 February 2007, entitled ‘Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work’ [COM(2007) 62 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Good health at work helps improve public health in general and also the productivity and competitiveness of businesses. Furthermore, workplace problems of health and safety exact a high cost for social protection systems and therefore workers need to be provided with suitable working conditions if their general wellbeing is to be enhanced.

The Community’s current strategy on workplace health and safety is a continuation of its strategy for 2002-2006. The previous strategy has already borne fruit: workplace accidents have been markedly fewer in number. The new 2007-2012 strategy, which is even more ambitious, is focusing on achieving a 25 % reduction in the total incidence rate of accidents at work and, in order to achieve its goal, the Commission has established six intermediate objectives, which are summarised below.

Putting in place a modern and effective legislative framework

There are sometimes serious shortcomings in the application of Community legislation on workplace health and safety. The Commission will ensure that Community directives are transposed properly (if necessary, infringement proceedings will be launched). The Commission also draws the attention of the Member States to their obligation to implement Community legislation, for which they have several methods at their disposal, e.g. training, dissemination of information, involvement of labour inspectors or use of economic incentives.

Community legislation should not only be more effectively implemented but also be applied in a uniform manner in all the Member States in order to guarantee equivalent levels of protection to all European workers. At Community level, the Senior Labour Inspectors’ Committee (SLIC) will be working to develop mechanisms whereby common solutions can be found to problems specific to several Member States. The Committee will also be responsible for promoting cooperation between labour inspectorates.

In terms of worker protection, it is also essential to adapt the legal framework to changes in the world of work and to the latest technical advances. The Commission proposes to examine, for example, the possibility of launching initiatives to assess the musculo-skeletal risks involved in certain occupations and to investigate areas where carcinogens might be in use.

When all is said and done, any adaptation of the legal framework must also make that framework less complex and more effective. The Commission emphasises that simplified legislation should not lead to a reduction in existing levels of protection.

Encouraging the development and implementation of national strategies

The Commission invites the Member States to define and to adopt national strategies that are coherent with Community strategy and to establish quantitative objectives to be achieved within that context. The Commission proposes that the Member States pay particular attention to four areas:

  • prevention and health surveillance;
  • rehabilitation and reintegration of workers;
  • responses to social and demographic change (the ageing of the population, younger workers);
  • coordination between, on the one hand, policies on health and safety at work and, on the other, policies on public health, regional development and social cohesion, public procurement, employment and restructuring.

Promoting changes in behaviour

Changes in behaviour should be encouraged at all levels from primary school through to the world of work. The Commission calls upon the Member States to make wider use of the potential offered by the European Social Fund and other Community funds with a view to incorporating health and safety into education and training programmes. The raising of awareness within companies can be promoted through direct or indirect financial incentives, such as reductions in social contributions or insurance premiums, or increases in economic aid.

Confronting new and increasing risks

It is essential to step up scientific research in order to be able to anticipate, identify and respond to new workplace health and safety risks. At Community level, research in the areas of workplace health and safety is supported by the 7th framework programme for research and technological development. At national level, the Commission encourages Member States to coordinate their research programmes.

Depression is, at the present time, an increasingly important cause of incapacity for work. Mental health should be promoted in the workplace, e.g. by stepping up initiatives aimed at preventing violence and harassment in the workplace or combating stress.

Improving measurement of progress made

The Commission will ensure that statistics and information on national strategies are collected and that qualitative indicators are developed to enhance knowledge of progress achieved in the areas of health and safety at work.

Promoting health and safety at international level

The European Union is seeking to raise labour standards worldwide and will endeavour to increase its cooperation with third countries and with international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) or the World Health Organisation (WHO). For example, it aims to promote implementation of the global strategy on occupational safety and health , adopted by the ILO in 2003, ratification of the promotional framework for occupational safety and health convention , adopted in 2006, and the banning of asbestos.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament of 8 November 2007 transmitting the European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work [COM(2007) 686 final [Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication relates to the European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work. It is the third autonomous agreement of its type, negotiated by the European cross-industry social partners. Its objective is to prevent and, where necessary, manage problems of bullying, harassment and physical violence in the workplace. Such situations are roundly condemned by the social partners, which call upon European companies to adopt a policy of zero tolerance.
The European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work was signed on 26 April 2007 by the ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP.

EU action plan on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security

EU action plan on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU action plan on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

EU action plan on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 24 June 2009 on Strengthening Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Security in the European Union – an EU CBRN Action Plan .

Summary

The risks posed by terrorist groups acquiring chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials require coordinated action based on an all-hazard approach to preventing and detecting such cases. In recent years, such measures have been taken at both national and European Union (EU) level.

Developments so far

The responsibility to respond to CBRN threats mainly lies with Member States, many of which are fairly well-equipped to coordinate actions nationally. For crises that have cross-border implications, EU level procedures and tools have been developed to support Member States. They consist of the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection and the Crisis Coordination Arrangements (CCA). In addition, the Health Security Committee and the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) provide support for tackling health-related risks.

At EU level, actions to counter CBRN threats were first initiated at the Ghent European Council in 2001. Subsequently, the “Programme to improve cooperation in the European Union for preventing and limiting the consequences of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear terrorist threats” was adopted in 2002. This was followed by the EU Solidarity Programme on the consequences of terrorist threats and attacks adopted in 2004, which was incorporated into the Strategy and Action Plan on Combating Terrorism adopted in 2005. The instruments used in the EU external relations consist, in particular, of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (EU WMD Strategy), as well as of the Instruments for Stability, Nuclear and Security Cooperation (INSC) and Pre-Accession (IPA).

EU CBRN action plan

In February 2008, the Commission set up a CBRN Task Force to work on CBRN policy. Its final report of January 2009 provides the basis for the EU CBRN action plan. The main goal of CBRN policy is to minimise the threat and damage to the public from CBRN incidents through the:

  • use of a risk-based approach to security;
  • effective protection of CBRN materials;
  • improved exchanges of security-related information between Member States;
  • further development of detection systems in the EU;
  • provision of the necessary tools to manage CBRN incidents.

To this end, a coherent and prioritised EU action plan that involves all relevant stakeholders is implemented. It identifies three main areas of work:

  • prevention, which as the focal point of activity should first involve the use of risk-assessment to prioritise high-risk CBRN materials, and then focus on the security and control of these materials and the related facilities;
  • detection, which is seen as an essential supplement to prevention, as well as necessary for response. Consequently, detection systems should be set up within Member States and at the external borders of the Union. At EU level, minimum CBRN detection standards will be developed, testing and certification schemes will be established, and the exchanges of good practices will be enhanced;
  • preparedness and response, for which the existing measures should be further developed, with particular attention given to emergency planning, information flows, modelling tools, and countermeasure and criminal investigation capacity.

These areas of work are supported by various horizontal measures.

The action plan will mainly be implemented under existing structures, such as the Community Civil Protection Mechanism and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument. An EU CBRN Resilience Programme will also be launched in order to pool the civil protection actions of the plan. A CBRN Advisory Group will be set up to enable the Commission and the CBRN Task Force to continue collaborating during implementation.

The implementation of the action plan will be financed from existing programmes, primarily from the specific programmes “Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security related risks” and “Prevention of and Fight against Crime”. Additional financing may also be received from the Civil Protection Financial Instrument, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities and the EU Health Programme 2008-13. The implementation will be regularly monitored and followed up, with a review carried out on the action plan in 2013.

External relations

The EU WMD Strategy adopted in December 2003 is the main component of the EU external relations policy regarding CBRN. A later updating of the strategy resulted in “New lines for action by the European Union in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems”, adopted in December 2008. Support for third countries is given in particular through the Instrument of Stability. Furthermore, regional centres of CBRN excellence and an Expert Support Facility mechanism will be established with a view to tackling CBRN risks internationally. Standard counter-terrorism and WMD clauses are also used in agreements with third countries.

Action on HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries 2006 – 2009

Action on HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries 2006 – 2009

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action on HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries 2006 – 2009

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Threats to health

Action on HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries 2006 – 2009

Building on its working paper entitled “Coordinated and integrated approach to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the European Union and in its neighbourhood”, the European Commission is trying to bring together all of the interested parties in a joint action programme. In this paper the Commission lays down targets and measures to be implemented by the end of 2009 for each of the areas in which action is needed. More detailed proposals for the main areas of action for the period 2006 – 2010 are presented in the Annex.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 December 2005 on combating HIV/AIDS within the European Union and in the neighbouring countries, 2006-2009 [COM(2005) 654 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

There are signs of a decline in action on HIV/AIDS at the moment, particularly as regards prevention, surveillance and measures to combat discrimination. This trend runs counter to the targets which have been set, regarding for example the elimination of mother-to-child transmission and universal access to treatment.

In view of this, the European Commission plans to promote joint action at Community level to complement national and international initiatives. The measures to be taken under this initiative will be targeted on:

  • the involvement of civil society;
  • surveillance;
  • prevention;
  • testing;
  • treatment, care and support;
  • research;
  • cooperation with neighbouring countries.

Involvement of civil society

The main objective in this area is to increase the involvement of civil society in all aspects of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Several initiatives have already been taken with this aim in mind:

  • representatives of civil society have become involved in the HIV/AIDS Think Tank;
  • a forum of 30 European organisations has been set up to improve the exchange of information.

In future, the Commission plans to foster cooperation and dialogue with patients and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure that they are even more actively involved in the design, implementation and follow-up of policy on HIV/AIDS. In an effort to strengthen its partnership with the private sector, the Commission is also inviting representatives of industry, including the Union of Industrial and Employers Confederations of Europe (UNICE), to strengthen their response to the epidemic and to play their part in implementing the EU’s HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.

Surveillance

The objectives in the area of surveillance are as follows:

  • to improve and harmonise surveillance systems to monitor the epidemic, risk behaviour and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS;
  • to ensure effective provision of data and information on other sexually transmitted infections;
  • to support surveillance of HIV testing.

Surveillance of HIV/AIDS in Europe has until now been coordinated by the EuroHIV network, which is co-financed by the Commission. In 2008 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will assume responsibility for this network.

The Commission plans to take the following measures, working with the Member States, neighbouring countries, the ECDC and other partners:

  • help to introduce complete geographic coverage of HIV case reporting;
  • reassess the objectives of AIDS surveillance and include its reporting in an integrated surveillance system;
  • design a standardised approach for appropriate prevention indicators;
  • develop estimates of HIV incidence in Europe;
  • facilitate the setting-up of sentinel surveillance in high-risk groups;
  • facilitate implementation of practical solutions to address the confidentiality obstacles.

Prevention

The measures to be taken in the area of prevention will aim primarily:

  • to facilitate the implementation of the measures adopted;
  • to ensure that all citizens have access to information, education and services;
  • to improve services for injecting drug users;
  • to prevent discrimination against migrants;
  • to support the monitoring and evaluation of the methods used.

In the absence of a vaccine or cure, prevention remains the most effective way to combat HIV/AIDS. In view of the situation within the European Union (constant increase in the number of cases), there is a need to step up prevention activities both among the general public and among specific groups (young people, women, sex workers, drug users, etc.).

The Commission therefore intends to promote:

  • the implementation of prevention programmes, particularly for the most vulnerable groups;
  • safe sex ;
  • measures to address the increase in risk-taking behaviour among young people;
  • the evaluation of the risks of mother-to-child transmission and the risks associated with drug dependence;
  • the development of training programmes for healthcare staff and other professionals caring for those with HIV/AIDS.

Counselling, testing, treatment and support

The objectives in this field are:

  • to combat discrimination against and stigmatisation of those living with HIV/AIDS;
  • to promote universal access to effective treatment and care;
  • to improve social and labour market integration;

These objectives are all interlinked. For example, affordable and accessible services and good treatment reduce stigmatisation and social exclusion. They also encourage responsible sexual behaviour, which helps to prevent the spread of the virus.

The measures to attain these objectives will focus on:

  • capacity-building among service providers;
  • enhancing the role of NGOs active in this field;
  • further developing HIV/AIDS surveillance at European level;
  • producing a set of European reference models for Member States and European Neighbourhood Policy partners;
  • access to antiretroviral drugs, counselling and testing.

Research

In this area the Commission plans:

  • to increase commitments to research and development for vaccines and microbicides;
  • to promote access to treatment by developing affordable treatments and diagnosis;
  • to support public health research;
  • to support private sector involvement;
  • to support the use of behavioural prevention methods.

Since the entry into force of the Sixth Framework Programme of Research and Development research into HIV/AIDS has become a top priority for the European Commission. EUR 50 million has been allocated to financing research into prevention and treatment. There has also been an emphasis on the new Member States and neighbouring countries in eastern Europe, which have been invited to take part in both EU-funded proposals, such as the network of excellence on therapeutic clinical trials, and the evaluation process.

Reflecting the Commission’s desire for continuity, the Seventh Framework Programme, soon to be negotiated with the Member States, will continue to give priority to HIV/AIDS research. The Commission has proposed an increase in the funding allocated to this programme, particularly in the area of biotechnology, translational research and delivery of healthcare.

HIV/AIDS and the European Neighbourhood Policy

The European Commission intends to increase the involvement of neighbouring countries * in the EU’s HIV/AIDS activities in order to perpetuate the exchange of information and best practice.

The Commission will also call on these countries to look into ways of developing a coordinated approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the HIV/AIDS Think Tank and the Civil Society Forum.

Action Plan

The Action Plan annexed to the Communication sets out the measures to be taken according to a strict timetable by the parties involved in each of the priority areas. The various proposals stress in particular the exchange of best practice, training and programmes to raise public awareness.

Key terms used in the act
  • Neighbouring countries: Russian Federation, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine.

Money laundering: prevention through customs cooperation

Money laundering: prevention through customs cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Money laundering: prevention through customs cooperation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for capital

Money laundering: prevention through customs cooperation

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on controls of cash entering or leaving the Community.

Summary

This regulation complements the provisions of Directive 91/308/EEC on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering within the European Union (EU). Directive 91/308/EEC was replaced by Directive 2005/60/EC, which in particular extends the scope of the preventive measures to terrorist financing. The competent authorities * of the EU countries now have harmonised rules for the control of cash * entering or leaving the EU.

Obligation to declare

The regulation places an obligation on any natural person entering or leaving the EU and carrying cash of a value of EUR 10 000 or more to declare that sum to the competent authorities. The information provided must be correct and complete, otherwise the declaration is invalid.

The declaration is provided in writing, orally or electronically, to be determined by the EU country, and must contain information on:

  • the declarant, including full name, date and place of birth and nationality;
  • the owner and the amount and nature of the cash;
  • the intended recipient of the cash;
  • the provenance and intended use of the cash.

The information obtained, either from the declaration or as a result of controls, must be recorded and processed. It is made available to the authorities responsible for combating money laundering or terrorist financing in the EU country of entry or of exit. The information provided may be communicated to non-EU countries by the EU countries or by the Commission, subject to the consent of the competent authorities. The national and EU provisions on the transfer of personal data must be complied with.

Professional secrecy covers all information which is by nature confidential or which is provided on a confidential basis. It must not be disclosed without the express permission of the person or authority providing it. However, the competent authorities may be obliged by law to disclose this information, for instance in connection with legal proceedings. In such a case, any disclosure or communication of information must fully comply with prevailing data protection legislation.

Checking compliance with the obligation to declare

Officials of the competent authorities may check compliance with the obligation to declare by carrying out controls on natural persons. This includes controls on the natural persons themselves, their baggage and their means of transport. Such controls must comply with national legislation in this area.

In the event of failure to comply with the obligation to declare, cash may be detained by administrative decision in accordance with national legislation.

The information obtained may be made available to other EU countries, in particular where there is evidence of illegal activities. In such cases, Regulation (EC) No 515/97 on mutual assistance between the administrative authorities of the EU countries and cooperation between the latter and the Commission to ensure the correct application of the law on customs and agricultural matters applies mutatis mutandis. Where there are indications that the financial interests of the EU are adversely affected, the information will also be transmitted to the Commission.

Where it appears from the controls that a natural person is entering or leaving the EU with sums of cash lower than EUR 10 000 and where there is evidence of illegal activities associated with the movement of cash, that information may also be recorded and processed.

Penalties

By 15 June 2007, EU countries must lay down the penalties applicable in the event of failure to comply with the obligation to declare. Such penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Key terms used in the act
  • Competent authorities: the customs authorities of the EU countries or any other authorities empowered by EU countries to apply this regulation.
  • Cash: the term “cash” covers currency (banknotes and coins), but also other monetary instruments such as cheques, promissory notes, money orders, etc.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005

15.12.2005

OJ L 309 of 25.11.2005

Related Acts

Commission report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on controls of cash entering or leaving the Community pursuant to article 10 of this Regulation [COM (2010) 429 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report concludes that EU countries have effectively organised competent authorities to ensure that passengers comply with their cash declaration obligation. They have also implemented a penalty system and/or cash detention system for cases of non-compliance with the cash declaration requirements. However, in a few EU countries, some shortcomings have been detected in the recording, processing and making available of control information and in the introduction of national penalties. This report notes that EU countries need to be closely monitored to enhance the harmonisation of the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 (the “Cash Control Regulation”).

Conflict prevention

Conflict prevention

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conflict prevention

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Foreign and security policy > Conflict prevention

Conflict prevention

INTRODUCTION

  • Conflict prevention
  • EU response to fragile situations
  • Instrument for Stability (2007 – 2013)
  • Cooperation with ACP States involved in armed conflicts
  • Disaster and crisis response in Non-EU Member Countries

CIVILIAN CRISIS MANAGENT

  • Financing of civilian crisis management operations
  • Civilian Headline Goal 2008


Another Normative about Conflict prevention

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Foreign and security policy > Conflict prevention

Conflict prevention

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 11 April 2001 on Conflict Prevention [COM(2001)211 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Background

Many factors contribute to conflict – poverty, economic stagnation, uneven distribution of resources, weak social structures, lack of good governance, systematic discrimination, oppression of minorities, the destabilising effects of refugee flows, ethnic antagonism, religious and cultural intolerance, social injustice and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and small arms. To control these factors and ensure that they do not lead to conflict, the Commission has drawn up a list of potential causes of conflict to monitor.

The Communication is divided into three sections referring to the Commission’s priorities: long-term prevention, short-term prevention and enhanced international cooperation. An annex contains a list of recommendations for the three priorities.

Long-term prevention: projecting stability

As a promoter of integration, the EU has for decades maintained special relations with its neighbours, which have helped to maintain a high level of stability and prosperity. This regional cooperation has not stopped at the EU’s borders, and could also serve as an example to bodies such as Mercosur, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which already receive EU support.

Trade is an important aspect of cooperation and development and contributes to conflict prevention. Through the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), the EU facilitates access to the European market for most products from developing countries. The system is based on tariff preferences at variable rates, accompanied by trade-related capacity building. Since February 2001, the Everything but Arms initiative has given duty-free access to the European market, without quotas, to all products from the least developed countries (LDCs) other than arms. These preferences may be suspended if a country’s political situation deteriorates.

Conflict prevention must be incorporated in cooperation programmes, since violent conflict rarely springs out of nowhere, but is the result of a gradual deterioration. Development policy and cooperation programmes are therefore effective instruments for dealing with the root causes of conflict. Their emphasis is on reducing poverty.

It is, however, not enough for the EU to be a major supplier of aid to the world. It’s approach must also be integrated, i.e. take account of each country’s specific conditions while seeking sustainable or structural stability, as in Salvador and Guatemala.

Country strategy papers (CSP) are an essential part of this integrated approach. They include an evaluation of potential conflict using the indicators referred to above. Conflict prevention measures will thus be incorporated in the cooperation programmes of countries with obvious risk factors.

For sustainable stability and conflict prevention, a healthy macroeconomic environment is also necessary. The Commission therefore provides financial support for appropriate economic reform programmes in highly indebted poor countries (HIPC).

A democratic deficit goes hand in hand with the potential for conflict. Countries at risk therefore tend to have a poorly developed democratic process, making external support difficult to implement. To support democracy, the rule of law and civil society, the EU conducts operations in the fields of transition, democratic elections, civil and political rights, freedom of expression and of the media, good governance, the development of civil society and gender equality. Particular emphasis will be placed on support to electoral processes, parliamentary activities and the administration of justice.

Measures to support security reforms (police, armed forces, etc.) and specific measures for post-conflict situations are also necessary. The latter include demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR), demining operations, particular attention to children affected by armed conflict, and measures to promote the reconciliation process.

A third aspect of long-term prevention is more effective handling of cross-cutting issues such as drugs, small arms, the management of natural resources, environmental degradation, communicable diseases, massive population flows, human trafficking and private-sector interests in unstable areas. The Communication gives examples of EU initiatives to combat the negative impact of these practices and explains the importance for conflict prevention of eliminating them. Private businesses in unstable areas have a responsibility in terms of a country’s socio-economic development and also in terms of their possible contribution to maintaining, or even creating, structural causes of conflict. Guidelines therefore encourage businesses to behave more responsibly. This includes respect for the human rights of local people, and non-interference in the political process.

Short-term prevention: reacting rapidly to incipient conflicts

In parallel with the long-term strategy, early-warning and rapid reaction capacity is also needed. Two classic EU instruments, of which optimal use must be made, are emergency economic assistance and election observers. It also has political and diplomatic instruments at its disposal, such as political dialogue, Special Representatives and the use of sanctions. In its recommendations the Commission proposes making political dialogue more focused and flexible, giving Special Representatives the role of full mediators and using sanctions preventively as well as reactively. It also considers that the civilian and military crisis-management tools developed in the context of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) could be used in pre-crisis scenarios.

The EU also has a Rapid Reaction Mechanism with a single financial and legal framework, which facilitates Commission action in this field.

Enhancing international cooperation on conflict prevention

The Commission considers that the “Friends of” approach, bringing together a country’s suppliers of aid, is a good method for coordinating action with partner countries in post-conflict situations. Prevention also occupies an important place in the EU’s dialogue with industrialised countries.

In terms of international organisations, the Commission advocates enhanced cooperation with the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank and International Monetary Fund), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) and the G8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States). Such cooperation will take account of the specific characteristics of each organisation.

The Commission recognises the essential role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly on the ground, and states its intention of emphasising conflict prevention in its dealings with them.

Conclusion

The Commission considers that the advantage of conflict prevention has been demonstrated, and is determined to mobilise Community instruments more effectively and with better coordination. It intends to direct its efforts towards:

  • building the objectives of peace, democracy and political and social stability more clearly into assistance programmes;
  • ensuring that account is taken of political and social exclusion, social and regional marginalisation and environmental degradation;
  • bringing added value to international initiatives on cross-cutting issues which are potential sources of conflict;
  • making effective use of other means such as trade and social policy;
  • developing new approaches and instruments.

In conclusion, the Commission states that the EU’s capacity for action is dependent on three factors: a clear definition of objectives, the capacity to act and, most importantly, the political will to act. A list of recommendations derived from the Communication is annexed.

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 2368/2002 of 20 December 2002 implementing the Kimberley Process certification scheme for the international trade in rough diamonds [Official Journal No L 358 of 31.12.2002]

Commission Communication of 29 November 2001 on Financing of civilian crisis management operations [COM(2001) 647 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Council Regulation (EC) No 381/2001 of 26 February 2001 creating a rapid-reaction mechanism [OJ L 57of 27.2.2001]

Commission Communication of 11 April 2000 on EU election assistance and observation [COM(2000) 191 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report: “One Year On: the Commission’s Conflict Prevention Policy”, March 2002

by the Secretary General/CFSP High representative and the Commission to the Nice European Council, 7-8 December 2000.

Financing of civilian crisis management operations

Financing of civilian crisis management operations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Financing of civilian crisis management operations

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Foreign and security policy > Conflict prevention

Financing of civilian crisis management operations

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 29 November 2001 on Financing of civilian crisis management operations [COM(2001) 647 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

In view of the need for more effective and reliable procedures for the rapid financing of civilian crisis interventions, the Commission has drawn up recommendations on the subject. It proposes a new flexibility instrument to permit the release of additional funds for external action, while remaining within the financial perspectives. It also believes that the procedures should be made less cumbersome and that Member State contributions could be considered in exceptional circumstances.

A new flexibility instrument

The Commission considers that since the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam established new instruments for action in this field, and given the scale of the crises with which the EU must respond, it is important to ensure coordination and cohesion between the instruments. There must be no confusion about the distribution of tasks. As in the case of the (RRM), it proposes a derogation from the rule requiring CFSP crisis operations to be charged to the regular budget.

Given that both Community and CFSP appropriations depend on the financial perspectives, the Commission considers ways of mobilising needed to respond to a crisis situation. One solution would be to create a crisis management reserve outside the heading for external actions. This would allow the EU to live up to its ambitions, but could also involve a revision of the ceiling. The Commission therefore feels that it would be more prudent to create a new flexibility instrument allowing the EU to respond to unexpected situations without changing the financial perspective ceiling. At the same time the use of the current emergency reserve would be extended to CFSP crisis interventions.

The new instrument should be backed up by improved management, with faster decision-making, adoption and implementation procedures. The mobilisation of the funds from the emergency reserve would follow the present rules. In the Commission’s view this arrangement has three advantages:

Member States only have to contribute when the reserve is exhausted;

  • there is no need to establish a new funding key; and
  • maintaining established budgetary management structures means that administrative overheads can be kept to a minimum

Background

The Court of Auditors has criticised the cumbersome nature of common foreign and security policy (CFSP) procedures for financing civilian crisis management. It believes that the Commission should be more involved at the preparatory stage and that transparency should be improved.

Civilian crisis management operations have four priority fields of action, established by the Feira European Council: the police, the rule of law, civilian protection and civilian administration. The source of their budget financing depends on their purpose and their content. Funds may come from three different budget lines:

  • the appropriate Community budget line, when the operations are conducted under a Community instrument (information or observation missions, training, economic and trade development incentives, mine clearance, human rights, reconstruction, food aid, humanitarian interventions, etc.);
  • the CFSP budget line for CFSP operations without military or defence implications (such as disarmament, support for peace processes, political assistance, etc.);
  • a budget other than the EC budget for operations under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) with military or defence implications.

In the case of CFSP operations, procedures are becoming too cumbersome and threaten to reduce the potential and credibility of the European Union. The Commission considers that if the Community wishes to continue financing CFSP operations from the budget, it must note sure they can be implemented rapidly. Two options could be considered in the context of the CFSP to remove the budgetary constraints: systematic drawing on Member State contributions or increasing the flexibility of the regular budget. The Commission considers the second option more appropriate, since creating a new ad hoc fund would raise many issues concerning its management, control and coherence.

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 458/2008 of 26 May 2008 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2368/2002 implementing the Kimberley Process certification scheme for the international trade in rough diamonds [Official JournalL 137, 27.5.2008].

Commission Communication of 1 October 2004: Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing an Instrument for Stability [COM (2004) 630 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Communication of 11 April 2001 on Conflict Prevention [COM(2001)211 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EC) No 381/2001 of 26 February 2001 creating a rapid-reaction mechanism [Official Journal L 57of 27.2.2001].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2368/2002 of 20 December 2002 implementing the Kimberley Process certification scheme for the international trade in rough diamonds [Official Journal No L 358 of 31.12.2002].

Commission Communication of 11 April 2000 on EU election assistance and observation [COM(2000) 191 Commission Report: One Year On: the Commission’s Conflict Prevention Policy, March 2002

by the Secretary General/CFSP High Representative and the Commission to the Nice European Council, 7-8 December 2000.

Exposure to noise

Exposure to noise

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exposure to noise

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Exposure to noise

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2003/10/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 February 2003 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (noise)

Seventeenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC [See amending acts].

Summary

EXPOSURE LIMIT VALUES AND EXPOSURE ACTION VALUES

The physical parameters used to measure noise are as follows: peak sound pressure (maximum value of instantaneous noise pressure), daily noise exposure level and weekly noise exposure level.
The exposure limit value is fixed at 87 decibels (taking into account the attenuation provided by the individual hearing protectors worn by the workers) and the exposure action values are fixed at 80 decibels (lower value) and 85 decibels (upper value).

OBLIGATIONS OF EMPLOYERS

Determination and assessment of risks

In carrying out the obligations laid down in the framework Directive on the improvement of the health of workers at work, the employer, via the intermediary of the competent services, must assess and, if necessary, measure the levels of noise to which workers are exposed. The results of this assessment must be recorded on a suitable medium and kept up to date on a regular basis.

The employer must give particular attention, when carrying out the risk assessment, to the following:

  • the level, type and duration of exposure, including any exposure to impulsive noise;
  • the exposure limit values and the exposure action values;
  • any effects concerning the health and safety of workers belonging to particularly sensitive risk groups;
  • as far as technically achievable, any effects on workers’ health and safety resulting from interactions between noise and work-related ototoxic substances, and between noise and vibrations;
  • any indirect effects on workers’ health and safety resulting from interactions between noise and warning signals or other sounds;
  • information on noise emission provided by manufacturers of work equipment in accordance with the relevant Community directives;
  • the existence of alternative work equipment designed to reduce the noise emission;
  • the extension of exposure to noise beyond normal working hours under the employer’s responsibility;
  • appropriate information obtained following health surveillance;
  • the availability of hearing protectors with adequate attenuation characteristics.

Provisions aimed at avoiding or reducing exposure

Taking account of technical progress and of the availability of measures to control the risk at source, the risks arising from exposure to noise must be eliminated at their source or reduced to a minimum. The reduction of the basic risks must be based on the general principles of prevention set out in Directive 89/391/EEC and take into account in particular:

  • other working methods that require less exposure to noise;
  • the choice of appropriate work equipment;
  • the design and layout of workplaces and work stations;
  • adequate information and training to instruct workers to use work equipment correctly in order to reduce their exposure to noise to a minimum;
  • noise reduction by technical methods: reducing airborne noise (shields, enclosures, sound-absorbant coverings) and reducing structure-borne noise (dampening, isolation);
  • appropriate maintenance programmes for work equipment, the work place and workplace systems;
  • organisation of work to reduce noise: limitation of the duration and intensity of exposure and appropriate work schedules with adequate rest periods.

Workplaces where workers are likely to be exposed to noise exceeding the exposure action values should be marked with appropriate signs and access to them should be restricted.

Where, owing to the nature of the activity, a worker benefits from the use of rest facilities under the responsibility of the employer, noise in these facilities must be reduced to a level compatible with their purpose and the conditions of use.

Personal protection

If the risks arising from exposure to noise cannot be prevented by other means, properly fitting individual hearing protectors must be made available to workers and used by them in accordance with Directive 89/656/EEC on the use of personal protective equipment:

  • where noise exposure exceeds the lower exposure action values, the employer must make individual hearing protectors available to workers;
  • where noise exposure matches or exceeds the upper exposure action values, individual hearing protectors must be used;
  • the individual hearing protectors must be so selected as to eliminate the risk to hearing or to reduce the risk to a minimum.

Limitation of exposure

Under no circumstances may the exposure of the worker exceed the exposure limit values. If, despite the measures taken to implement this Directive, exposures above the exposure limit values are detected, the employer must:

  • take immediate action to reduce the exposure to below the exposure limit values,
  • identify the reasons why overexposure has occurred and amend the protection and prevention measures in order to avoid any recurrence.

Worker information and training

The employer must ensure that workers who are exposed to noise at work at or above the lower exposure action values, and/or their representatives, receive information and training relating to risks resulting from exposure to noise concerning, in particular:

  • the nature of such risks;
  • the measures taken to implement this Directive in order to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the risks from noise, including the circumstances in which the measures apply;
  • the exposure limit values and the exposure action values;
  • the results of the assessment and measurement of the noise carried out, together with an explanation of their significance and potential risks;
  • the correct use of hearing protectors;
  • why and how to detect and report signs of hearing damage;
  • the circumstances in which workers are entitled to health surveillance and the purpose of health surveillance;
  • safe working practices to minimise exposure to noise.

Consultation and participation of workers

Consultation and participation of workers and/or of their representatives must take place on the matters covered by this Directive, in particular:

  • the assessment of risks and identification of measures to be taken;
  • the actions aimed at eliminating or reducing risks arising from exposure to noise;
  • the choice of individual hearing protectors.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Health surveillance

When the noise levels present a health risk, Member States must adopt provisions to ensure the appropriate health surveillance of workers (preservation of the hearing function):

  • workers whose exposure exceeds the upper exposure action values have the right to have their hearing checked;
  • workers whose exposure to noise exceed the lower exposure action values have the right to preventive audiometric testing.

Member States must establish arrangements to ensure that individual health records are made and kept up to date for these workers. These records may be consulted at a later date and are accessible to the workers concerned.

Where, as a result of surveillance of the hearing function, a worker is found to have an identifiable hearing damage, a doctor shall assess whether the damage is likely to be the result of exposure to noise at work. If this is the case:

  • the worker must be informed by the doctor or other suitably qualified person of the result which relates to him or her personally.
  • the employer must review the risk assessment;
  • the employer must review the measures provided for to eliminate or reduce risks;
  • the employer must take into account the advice of the occupational health-care professional or other suitably qualified person in implementing any measures required to eliminate or reduce risk, including the possibility of assigning the worker to alternative work where there is no risk of further exposure;
  • the employer must arrange continued health surveillance and provide for a review of the health status of any other worker who has been similarly exposed.

Derogations

In exceptional situations where, because of the nature of the work, the full and proper use of individual hearing protectors would be likely to cause greater risk to health or safety than not using such protectors, Member States may grant derogations from the provisions concerning personal protection and limitation of exposure.

Such derogations must be reviewed every four years and withdrawn as soon as the justifying circumstances no longer obtain.

Code of conduct

In the music and entertainment sectors, Member States may have recourse to a transitional period of up to a maximum of two years to prepare a code of conduct providing for practical guidelines to help workers and employers in these sectors to meet their legal obligations as laid down in this Directive.

Reporting

Every five years Member States must provide a report to the Commission on the practical implementation of this Directive. On the basis of those reports, the Commission shall carry out an overall assessment.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2003/10/EC

15.02.2003

15.02.2006
For the music and entertainment sector: 15.02.2008
For personnel on board seagoing vessels: 15.02.2011

OJ L 42 of 15.02.2003

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Exposure to electromagnetic fields

Exposure to electromagnetic fields

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exposure to electromagnetic fields

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Exposure to electromagnetic fields

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (18th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [See amending acts].

Summary

This Directive forms part of a “package” of four directives on the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents: noise, vibration, electromagnetic fields and optical radiation.
It is an individual directive under framework Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.

SCOPE

The Directive provides for measures to protect workers from the risks related to electromagnetic fields. However, it does not address the long-term effects, including the carcinogenic effects, that could result from exposure to electrical, magnetic and electromagnetic fields, for which there is no conclusive scientific data establishing a causal link.

Moreover, the Directive does not yet provide for exposure limits for static magnetic fields, for which further scientific evaluations are awaited.

The measures foreseen create a minimum basis of protection for all workers in the Union, leaving the Member States the option of keeping or adopting more favourable provisions. Moreover, its implementation cannot be used to justify any regression of the (possibly more favourable) provisions that apply in each Member State before its entry into force.

EXPOSURE LIMIT VALUES AND ACTION VALUES

The Directive lays down two types of value for exposure of workers:

  • “exposure limit values” defined in Table 1 of the Annex to the Directive on the basis of the various frequencies that are recognised as having harmful effects on the human cardiovascular system or the central nervous system or as being capable of causing whole-body heat stress or excessive localised heating of tissues;
  • “action values”, or values above which employers must take the measures specified in the Directive. Compliance with these action values will ensure compliance with the relevant exposure limit values. These action values are obtained from the guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). They are set out in Table 2 of the Annex to the Directive (13 frequency ranges that apply to all electromagnetic fields and are based on directly measurable parameters).

OBLIGATIONS OF EMPLOYERS

The Directive lays down various types of obligation with which employers must comply.

Determination of exposure and assessment of risks

  • assessment, measurement and calculation, by the appropriate services and at regular intervals, of the levels of electromagnetic fields to which workers are exposed;
  • saving of the results of this assessment on a suitable data storage medium so that they can be consulted at a later stage;
  • consideration in the assessment of risks (among other things, of the level, frequency spectrum, duration and type of exposure), of the indirect effects, such as interference with medical electronic equipment and devices, fires and explosions resulting from ignition of flammable materials.

Provisions designed to avoid or reduce risks

Once the action values are exceeded, employers must devise and implement an action plan comprising technical and/or organisational measures intended to prevent exposure from exceeding the exposure limit values (modification of working methods, choice of appropriate work equipment, better design of work stations, etc.). However, employers are not obliged to do so if they prove that there are no risks to the health of workers.

If, despite the measures taken by the employer to limit the risks, the exposure limit values are exceeded, the employer must take immediate action in order to reduce exposure to an authorised level.

Worker information and training

Exposed workers or their representatives must receive all necessary information and training, particularly relating to the outcome of the risk assessment, the measures taken by the employer, safe working practices, the detection of adverse effects and the circumstances in which workers are entitled to health surveillance.

Consultation and participation of workers

The Directive restricts itself to the requirements laid down in framework Directive 89/391/EEC.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Health surveillance

The Directive provides for the requirement of appropriate surveillance of the health of exposed workers with the objective of preventing any adverse effects due to exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Where exposure exceeds the limit values, a medical examination is foreseen. If it transpires that the health of the workers concerned has been harmed as a result of this exposure, a reassessment of the risks must be carried out.
Measures are also foreseen to ensure that the doctor responsible for the health surveillance has access to the results of the risk assessment, while the workers concerned will be able to have access to their own personal health records, at their request.

Sanctions

The Member States must provide for adequate sanctions in the event of infringement of the national provisions transposing the Directive.

Reports

Member States must provide a report to the Commission every five years on the practical implementation of the Directive, indicating the points of view of the social partners.

Every five years, the Commission must inform the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health Protection at Work of the content of the reports of the Member States. It must also send them an assessment of developments in this field, in particular as regards exposure to static magnetic fields.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2004/40/EC

30.04.2004

30.10.2013

OJ L 184 of 24.05.2004

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Directive 2008/46/CE

26.4.2008

OJ L 114 of 26.4.2008

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

OJ L 311 of 21.11.2008

Directive 2012/11/EU

24.4.2012

30.10.2013

OJ L 110 of 24.4.2012

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2004/40/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purpose only.

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 “Flood risk management – flood prevention, protection and mitigation” [COM(2004) 472 final – Official Journal C 49, 28 February 2006].

Summary

The situation with regard to flooding

Between 1998 and 2002, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, including the catastrophic floods along the Danube and Elbe rivers in 2002. These floods had a disastrous impact on the people affected, in terms of their health (some 700 fatalities since 1998), their social situation (displacement of about half a million people) and their economic situation (at least EUR 25 billion in insured economic losses). These floods also had severe environmental consequences (risks of contamination when waste water treatment plants are affected or chemicals are involved, destruction of biodiversity, etc.).

The Commission indicates that river and coastal floods vary considerably in size and duration and that the root causes of floods (rainfall, storms or major variations in sea level) are natural phenomena and essentially uncontrollable. However, it also points out that the damage resulting from floods is very much influenced by human actions (clearing of forests, straightening of rivers, and extensive building in high-risk areas, etc.).

Lastly, the Commission considers that the frequency of flooding will increase (as a result of climate change and the growing increase in the number of people and economic assets in flood risk zones), calling for concerted action at EU level.

Action undertaken and in progress

The EU already has a number of instruments for flood prevention and management:

  • in the research area, with the 5th and 6th research framework programmes;
  • in the regional policy area, in particular with the Structural Funds, e.g. the INTERREG initiative and the Cohesion Fund;
  • with the EU solidarity fund, which grants rapid financial assistance;
  • in the field of the common agricultural policy, the reform of which focuses, in particular, on rural development;
  • in the environmental field, the Water Framework Directive will help to mitigate the effects of floods, even if this is not one of its main objectives, and the establishment of the monitoring and information centre (MIC) will serve to improve the preparedness of the national protection authorities.

For their part, several Member States have drawn up flood protection plans and strategies and flood risk maps. Their level of involvement and the type of initiatives they take depend however on the type of flood risk (river, coastal, etc.) to which the country is exposed and the degree of risk.

In addition, international cooperation is being established for river basins such as the Rhine, Oder, Meuse, Danube, Saar, Moselle and Elbe: the countries bordering these rivers have established bodies to ensure a coordinated approach to flood risk management and cross-border protection plans.

Towards a European action programme

The Commission proposes that the Member States should cooperate with it to draw up and implement a coordinated action programme for flood prevention, protection and mitigation.

This action plan would include in particular:

  • improving cooperation and coordination between Member States through the development and implementation of flood risk management plans for each adversely affected river basin and coastal zone;
  • development and implementation of flood risk maps by the Member States;
  • improving information exchange, sharing of experiences, and the coordinated development and promotion of best practices; these measures would in particular fall within the area of responsibility of the Commission;
  • developing stronger linkages between the research community and the authorities responsible for flood management;
  • improving coordination between the relevant Community policies;
  • increasing awareness of flood risks through wider stakeholder participation and more effective communication.

Lastly, in an annex, the communication sets out guidelines concerning the essential features of the flood risk management plans and flood risk maps to be drawn up by the Member States.

Related Acts

Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and[Official Journal L 288, 6.11.2007].
The objective of this Directive is to reduce and manage flood-related risks to human health, the environment and property, in particular along rivers and in coastal areas. It provides in particular for the evaluation of flood risk in river basins by 2011 and for flood mapping in all areas with a significant flood risk by 2013. It also provides for coordination within shared river basins, and for producing flood risk management plans through a broad participatory and cooperation process between Member States by 2015.

Communication from the Commission of 28 August 2002 – The European Community response to the flooding in Austria, Germany and several applicant countries – A solidarity-based initiative [COM(2002) 481 final – Not published in the Official Journal].