European Parliament’s Research Service supports the parliamentary work
undertaken by its Members of Parliament through in-depth analyses. In this context in January
2023, it published an evaluation
of the European Commission's impact analysis for the Committee on Employment and
Social Affairs (EMPL) covering the amendment to Directive 2009/148/EU about
protecting workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work
which was prepared for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL),
provided an in-depth analysis of whether the European Commission's main criteria for improved
regulation were being met. The briefing also provided an initial overview of
the overall approach as well as the results of the impact analysis covering the
amendment to the Asbestos Directive.
Briefing: Contents of the impact analysis
analysis also identified two other objectives in addition to the initiative's
overall objective, i.e. preventing occupational cancers related to asbestos.
Included here were more effective protection against asbestos hazards by
revising the maximum allowable concentrations based on the latest scientific
findings as well as the aim of providing uniform protection for workers against
asbestos throughout Europe. Furthermore, the social and economic consequences
were also listed.
to this, a significant number of occupational cancers caused by asbestos could
be prevented over the next 40 years (between 75 and 97 per cent of cases) and
health care costs could also be reduced (between 166 - 418 million euros).
However, the briefing criticised the fact that the impact analysis identified
various proposals for lower maximum allowable concentrations, but it did not
explain any additional protective measure concepts, such as the wearing of
protective masks once a limit value has been exceeded.
Background: Proposal to amend the Asbestos Directive
According to the European Commission, occupational cancers are the most common cause of work-related deaths in
Europe. 78 per cent of the occupational cancers recognised in the member states
are asbestos-related. It was under this context that the European Commission published its proposal
to amend the Asbestos Directive on 28 September 2022. DSV had already
expressed its opinion about the European Commission's plans in a statement released in advance
and welcomed the fact that the Asbestos Directive is to be updated to meet the
current state of scientific knowledge.
During their council meeting, the Member
States agreed upon a general approach to maximum allowable concentrations for
asbestos in the workplace and they also approved the European Commission's proposal to reduce
the workplace exposure limit value to 0.01 f/cm³ as a shift average. The
European Parliament is currently working on a position that rapporteur
Véronique Trillet-Lenoir included in her draft report that was released on 11
January 2023, and it will be discussed by the Employment Committee of the
European Parliament in February.