On 17 February, the preliminary trialogue
agreement on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the
Council amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the
risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens was voted in the European
Parliament with an overwhelming majority. For the negotiated trialogue
agreement, 686 MEPs voted in favour, 4 against and 4 abstained.
European Commission announces further measures
In the preceding debate, Nicolas Schmit,
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, also spoke in Strasbourg. 52% of all
occupational deaths are due to carcinogens. This must be prevented. Schmit
announced that there will be a 5th revision of Directive 2004/37/EC on the
protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or
mutagens, which will include more reprotoxic substances. Further protection by
medical products should also be ensured for workers in the medical field. He
announced that new occupational health and safety guidelines will be published
end of 2022, with increased training and the introduction of a methodology for
Rare unity among political parties
In the debate, all the parliamentary groups
declared their support for stronger occupational health and safety for workers.
This is undisputed in Europe. The trialogue result was supported across the
political groups, thus confirming the really very good voting result of the
MEPs. Thus, it became visible how important the topic is.
A good way forward from a German perspective
Germany is very satisfied with the result.
Since Germany has a very strong industry, the demands on occupational safety
are also correspondingly high. One sticking point in the negotiations was the
determination of hazardous substances. The European Parliament alone wanted to
designate new reprotoxic substances, but the European Council resisted. Since
the Member States are responsible for occupational health and safety, only the
occupational safety experts know better which substances should be included.
Last stage are the Member States
Since the policy change is at the top of
the agenda, it still needs to be formally voted in the European Council, the
dossier can be unanimously approved in any form of the European Council.
However, it could also be voted on in the EPSCO Council on 14 March 2022.
The final text amending Directive
2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to
carcinogens or mutagens at work can be found here. Here, you can find information about the procedure for the vote in the
European Parliament, the approval of the European Commission text, the European Commission’s declaration and the Declaration of the European Parliament and the European