A trade union victory in protecting workers exposed to diesel engine exhaust

The ETUC welcomes the announcement today that the EU will take another step to protect  workers from work related cancer. The announcement today will affect 3,6 million workers in the EU and prevent at least 6 000 deaths per year from lung cancer.

Commenting on the announcement, Esther Lynch Confederal Secretary said “Today the EU is taking decisive action to limit workers exposure to diesel exhaust. It comes in response to a major awareness and lobbying effort by workers and their trade unions.

“Exposure to diesel exhaust is a significant workplace killer. Unfortunately many employers see diesel exposure as being something they can do nothing about. This is not the case and unions will work with employers to ensure that these legally binding limits are complied with.”

The compromise announced today is on the ‘second batch’ for the revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD). The Council of the European Union has adopted a proposal which fulfils substantially the amendments of the European Parliament on diesel engines exhaust emission (DEEE).

DEEE will enter in the scope of application of the CMD. A binding occupational exposure limit (BOEL) will be set at 0.05 mg/m³ in order to reduce the present levels of exposure. The BOEL will be calculated on the basis of elemental carbon. A transition period of two years will apply to all sectors with an additional five years applying to underground mining and the construction of tunnels.

Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary who leads work on occupational health and safety added “the compromise is a victory for the European trade union movement. It is step forward in our long-standing and on-going battle for eliminating work-related cancers but existing EU legislation still needs many improvements. One of the important challenges is to include reprotoxic substances. We urge the Commission to propose a legislative initiative in 2019”.

For more info https://www.etui.org/Publications2/Working-Papers/Eliminating-occupational-cancer-in-Europe-and-globally