Tag Archives: Worker

Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers

Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers

Topics

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

Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society

Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers

  • free movement of workers;
  • employment and remuneration;
  • improvement of working conditions;
  • social protection;
  • freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • vocational training;
  • equal treatment for men and women;
  • information, consultation and participation of workers;
  • health protection and safety at the workplace;
  • protection of children, adolescents, elderly persons, and disabled persons.

These social rights represent a foundation of minimum provisions common to all the European Union (EU) Member States. The provisions of the Charter were kept by the Lisbon Treaty (Article 151 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU) and by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Context

The Charter was adopted in accordance with the preamble of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, which recognised the need to continually work towards improving the living and working conditions of European citizens.

It was only adopted by the United Kingdom in 1998 as part of the integration of the principles of the Charter into the Amsterdam Treaty.

Exposure to mechanical vibration

Exposure to mechanical vibration

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

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 mechanical vibration

Improving the protection of workers against the risks arising from exposure to mechanical vibration by laying down minimum requirements with regard to the protection of health and safety.

2) Document or Iniciative

Directive 2002/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (vibration) (sixteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [Official Journal L 177, 06.07.2002]

3) Summary

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Following the adoption of Framework Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work, it was considered necessary to legislate on the specific problem of exposure to mechanical vibration. Vibration poses a potential risk to workers as it may give rise to musculoskeletal, neurological and vascular disorders. Directive 2002/44/EC applies without prejudice to more stringent and/or specific provisions contained in the Framework Directive.

The Directive specifies two different types of vibration:

  • vibration which, when transmitted to the human hand-arm system, entails risks to the health and safety of workers, in particular vascular, bone or joint, neurological or muscular disorders; and
  • vibration which, when transmitted to the whole body, entails risks to the health and safety of workers, in particular lower-back morbidity and trauma of the spine.

The Directive lays down exposure limit values and exposure “action” values (above which employers must take measures):

  • For hand-arm vibration, the daily exposure limit value standardised to an eight-hour reference period shall be 5 m/s2 and the daily exposure action value standardised to an eight-hour reference period shall be 2,5 m/s2.
  • For whole-body vibration, the daily exposure limit value standardised to an eight-hour reference period shall be 1,15 m/s2 or, at the choice of the Member State concerned, a vibration dose value of 21 m/s1,75, and the daily exposure action value standardised to an eight-hour reference period shall be 0,5 m/s2 or, at the choice of the Member State concerned, a vibration dose value of 9,1 m/s1,75.

Workers’ exposure to vibration shall be assessed or measured on the basis of the technical specifications listed in the Annex to the Directive.

OBLIGATION OF EMPLOYERS

Determination and assessment of risks

When carrying out the risk assessment provided for in Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, the employer shall assess and, if necessary, measure the levels of mechanical vibration to which workers are exposed. The level of exposure to mechanical vibration may be assessed by means of observation of specific working practices and reference to relevant information provided by the manufacturer of the equipment. That operation shall be distinguished from measurement, which requires the use of specific apparatus and appropriate methodology. These two operations shall be planned and carried out by competent services at regular intervals. The data obtained from the assessment and/or measurement of the level of exposure to mechanical vibration shall be preserved in a suitable form so as to permit consultation at a later stage

In accordance with Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, the employer shall give particular attention, when carrying out the risk assessment, to the following:

  • the level, type and duration of exposure, including any exposure to intermittent vibration or repeated shocks;
  • the exposure limit values and the exposure action values laid down in Article 3 of this Directive;
  • any effects concerning the health and safety of workers at particularly sensitive risk;
  • any indirect effects on worker safety resulting from interactions between mechanical vibration and the workplace or other work equipment;
  • information provided by the manufacturers of work equipment in accordance with the relevant Community Directives;
  • the existence of replacement equipment designed to reduce the levels of exposure to mechanical vibration;
  • the extension of exposure to whole-body vibration beyond normal working hours under the employer’s responsibility;
  • specific working conditions such as low temperatures;
  • appropriate information obtained from health surveillance, including published information, as far as possible.

The risk assessment shall be recorded on a suitable medium and be kept up-to-date on a regular basis.

Provisions aimed at avoiding or reducing exposure

On the basis of the risk assessment, the employer shall determine what measures to take. Taking account of technical progress and of the availability of measures to control the risk at source, the risks arising from exposure to mechanical vibration shall be eliminated at their source or reduced to a minimum.

Once the exposure “action” values (referred to under point 3 above) are exceeded, the employer shall establish and implement a programme of technical and/or organisational measures intended to reduce to a minimum exposure to mechanical vibration and the attendant risks, taking into account in particular:

  • other working methods;
  • the choice of appropriate work equipment;
  • the provision of auxiliary equipment that reduces the risk of injuries caused by vibration, such as seats that effectively reduce whole-body vibration and handles which reduce the vibration transmitted to the hand-arm system;
  • appropriate maintenance programmes for work equipment, the workplace and workplace systems;
  • the design and layout of workplaces and work stations;
  • adequate information and training for workers;
  • limitation of the duration and intensity of the exposure;
  • appropriate work schedules with adequate rest periods;
  • the provision of clothing to protect exposed workers from cold and damp.

In any event, workers shall not be exposed above the exposure limit value. If, despite the measures taken by the employer, the exposure limit value is exceeded, the employer shall take immediate action to reduce exposure below the exposure limit value. He shall identify the reasons why the exposure limit value has been exceeded, and shall amend the protection and prevention measures accordingly in order to prevent it being exceeded again.

Worker information and training

In accordance with Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, the employer shall ensure that workers who are exposed to the risks from mechanical vibration at work and/or their representatives receive information and training relating to risks from mechanical vibration, concerning in particular:

  • the measures taken to implement this Directive in order to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the risks from mechanical vibration;
  • the exposure limit values and the exposure action values;
  • the results of the assessment and measurement of the mechanical vibration carried out in accordance with Article 4 of this Directive and the potential injury arising from the work equipment in use;
  • why and how to detect and report signs of injury;
  • the circumstances in which workers are entitled to health surveillance;
  • safe working practices.

HEALTH SURVEILLANCE

Prevention and diagnosis

Member States shall adopt provisions to ensure the appropriate health surveillance of workers. Health surveillance shall be intended to prevent and diagnose rapidly any disorder linked with exposure to mechanical vibration. Such surveillance shall be appropriate where:

  • the exposure of workers to vibration is such that a link can be established between that exposure and an identifiable illness or harmful effects on health; and
  • it is probable that the illness or the effects occur in a worker’s particular working conditions.

In any event, workers exposed to mechanical vibration in excess of the “action” values shall be entitled to appropriate health surveillance.

Member States shall establish arrangements to ensure that, for each worker who undergoes health surveillance, individual health records are kept. The individual worker shall, at his request, have access to the health records relating to him personally.

Where, as a result of health surveillance, a worker is found to have an identifiable disease or adverse health effect which is considered by a doctor or occupational health-care professional to be the result of exposure to mechanical vibration at work:

  • the worker shall be informed of the result which relates to him personally and shall receive information and advice;
  • the employer shall be informed of any significant findings from the health surveillance, taking into account any medical confidentiality;
  • the employer shall review the risk assessment;
  • the employer shall review the measures provided for to eliminate or reduce risks, including the possibility of assigning the worker to alternative work where there is no risk of further exposure;
  • the employer shall arrange continued health surveillance and provide for a review of the health status of any other worker who has been similarly exposed.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Transitional periods

With regard to implementation of the obligations referred to under point 8 above (workers shall not be exposed above the exposure limit value), Member States shall be entitled to make use of a maximum transitional period of five years from 6 July 2005 where work equipment is used which was given to workers before 6 July 2007 and which does not permit the exposure limit values to be respected, taking into account the latest technical advances and/or the organisational measures taken.

With regard to equipment used in the agriculture and forestry sectors, Member States shall be entitled to extend the maximum transitional period by up to four years to a total of nine years.

Derogations

In the case of sea and air transport, Member States may grant derogations in duly justified circumstances with respect to whole-body vibration where, given the state of the art and the specific characteristics of workplaces, it is not possible to comply with the exposure limit value despite the technical and/or organisational measures taken.

Where the exposure of a worker to mechanical vibration is usually below the exposure “action” values but varies markedly from time to time and may occasionally exceed the exposure limit value, Member States may also grant derogations. However, the exposure value averaged over 40 hours must be less than the exposure limit value and there must be evidence to show that the risks from the pattern of exposure to the work are lower than those from exposure at the exposure limit value.

These derogations shall be granted by Member States after consultation of the two sides of industry in accordance with national laws and practice. They must be accompanied by conditions which guarantee, taking into account the special circumstances, that the resulting risks are reduced to a minimum and that the workers concerned are subject to increased health surveillance.

Every four years Member States shall forward to the Commission a list of derogations, indicating the exact reasons and circumstances which made them decide to grant the derogations.

Technical amendments to the Directive

For the purpose of adopting purely technical amendments to the Annex, the Commission shall be assisted by a committee composed of the representatives of the Member States as provided for in the Framework Directive.

Implementation report

Every five years, the Member States shall 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 of the implementation of the Directive and shall inform the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work thereof.

Act

Date
of entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Directive 2002/44/EC 

06.07.2002

06.07.2005

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Exposure to artificial optical radiation

Exposure to artificial optical radiation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exposure to artificial optical radiation

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 artificial optical radiation

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2006/25/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to risks arising from physical agents (artificial optical radiation) (19th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Summary

This Directive is part of a “package” of four Directives regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents: noise, vibration, electromagnetic fields and optical radiation.

This is a Directive under framework Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.

Risks of optical radiation and scope

The exposure of workers to artificial optical radiation *, laser *, laser radiation * and non-coherent radiation * can have chronic adverse effects on the eyes and skin.

This Directive reduces the level of exposure to this radiation firstly by the introduction of preventive measures in the design of workstations, in order to reduce the risks at source. It also fixes exposure limit values for workers exposed to non-coherent radiation and laser radiation (Annex 2).

Obligations of employers

  • Assessment of the level of radiation.
    Firstly, the employer assesses or measures the levels of optical radiation to which employees are exposed so that they can be reduced if they exceed the applicable limits. He measures them on the basis of the standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Commission on Illumination (CEI) and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) or, failing that, using available national or international science-based guidelines.
  • Reduction of the risks.
    Secondly, the employer must reduce the level of radiation if the assessment indicates any possibility that the exposure limit values have been exceeded, for example by choosing a different material or limiting the duration of exposure.
  • Worker information and training.
    The workers or their representatives receive the necessary information and training, for example in the use of protective equipment.
  • Consultation and participation of workers.
    Employers must consult workers or their representatives in advance with regard to the protection of the safety and health of workers. They may propose measures to improve this protection and even enlist the competent authorities if they consider that the health protection offered by the employer is not adequate (in accordance with framework Directive 89/391/EEC).

Health surveillance

The health of workers is subject to surveillance carried out by a doctor, as is any risk arising from exposure to optical radiation, in accordance with the relevant national legislation.

Health records are made for each worker and updated after each health check. On request, individual workers may have access to their own personal health records.

Harmful effects and/or exceeding of limit values

In the event of exposure exceeding the limit values, a medical examination is automatically made available to the workers. If the limit values have been exceeded and/or the workers have suffered harmful effects to their health:

  • the worker is informed by the doctor or qualified person of the results relating to him and any significant findings;
  • the employer reviews the risk assessment and the measures taken, implements the measures recommended by the competent persons and establishes a continuous surveillance system.

Penalties

The Member States must provide for appropriate penalties if the national provisions adopted pursuant to the Directive have been infringed.

Reports

Every five years, the Member States provide the Commission with a report on the practical implementation of this Directive, including the opinions of the social partners.

Every five years, the Commission informs the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work of its assessment of these reports.

Key terms used in the act

  • Optical radiation: any electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range between 100 nm and 1 mm.
    The spectrum of optical radiation is divided into ultraviolet radiation (UVA, UVB and UVC), visible radiation and infrared radiation.
  • Laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation): any device which can produce or amplify electromagnetic radiation in the optical radiation wavelength range primarily by the process of controlled stimulated emission.
  • Laser radiation: optical radiation from a laser.
  • Non-coherent radiation: any optical radiation other than laser radiation.

References

Act

Entry into force – Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2006/25/ECE

27.04.2006

27.04.2010

OJ L 114 of 27.04.2006

Protection of workers exposed to asbestos

Protection of workers exposed to asbestos

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of workers exposed to asbestos

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

Protection of workers exposed to asbestos

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/148/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work (codified version) (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

The exposure of workers to asbestos dust or materials containing asbestos poses risks to their health. This Directive establishes protective and preventive rules intended to limit these risks.

The term asbestos applies to the following substances: asbestos actinolite, asbestos grunerite, asbestos anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and asbestos tremolite.

Exposure to asbestos

This Directive prohibits:

  • the application of asbestos by means of the spraying process and all activities that involve using low-density (less than 1 g/cm3) insulating or soundproofing materials;
  • the extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos, including products containing asbestos.

However, the processing and disposal of products resulting from demolition and asbestos removal shall be permitted. The exposure of workers must be reduced to a minimum, with regard to:

  • the number of workers;
  • work processes, which must not produce dust, especially in the air;
  • premises and equipment, which must be cleaned and maintained regularly;
  • storage and transport, in suitable sealed packing;
  • the collection of waste, which must be removed quickly, labelled and processed in accordance with Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste.

Limit values for exposure to asbestos

Employers shall ensure that no worker is exposed to an airborne concentration of asbestos in excess of 0.1 fibres per cm³ as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).

Risk assessment

A risk assessment must be carried out before beginning an activity involving exposure to asbestos dust or to materials containing asbestos. This assessment shall be based on representative sampling of the worker’s personal exposure.

The measuring of asbestos in the air shall take account only of fibres with:

  • a length of more than 5 micrometres and a breadth of less than 3 micrometres;
  • a length/breadth ratio greater than 3:1.

Working procedure

Before the start of the work, the employer must inform its national authorities of:

  • the location of the worksite,
  • the type and quantity of asbestos,
  • the activities and processes involved,
  • the number of workers,
  • the duration of the work,
  • measures taken to limit exposure.

The place where the work is carried out must be accessible only to workers – it must be demarcated and signed. In addition, it must be a no smoking area.

Demolition or asbestos removal work shall take place according to a pre-established plan aimed at guaranteeing the removal of asbestos before demolition techniques are applied, and at reducing the risks to a minimum.

Workers shall receive training particularly as regards the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, and as regards emergency, decontamination and medical surveillance procedures.

Assessment of the state of health

Each worker’s state of health must be assessed before exposure to asbestos. In addition, an individual health record must be established in order to provide for protective or preventive measures. Medical surveillance may continue after the end of the work.

Every European Union country shall keep a register of recognised cases of diseases related to asbestos (for example, asbestosis and mesothelioma).

Context

This Directive repeals Directive 83/477/EEC with a view to clarifying its provisions.

References

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

Directive 2009/148/EC

5.1.2010

OL L 330 of 16.12.2009