06 October 2003 10:37 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Commission (EC) has called on European Union (EU) member countries to adopt an updated and common list of illnesses for which workers should be compensated if they contracted them when handling chemicals at work.
In a formal recommendation on the schedule of occupational diseases’ Brussels called on governments "to introduce as soon as possible" rules covering "compensation and preventative measures" for such medical conditions.
Its list includes 36 named chemical agents, including arsenic, ammonia, chromium, sulphuric acid, formaldehyde, hydrogen sulphide and chlorine, where automatic compensation should apply. The same would apply for skin diseases and cancers caused by carbazole and coal by-products, for instance.
A secondary list containing 28 less toxic chemicals such as decalin, diphenyl, thiopene, silicium oxide and was also published. Here the Commission has asked member states to introduce rules demanding compensation for workers where a condition "can be proved to be occupational in origin and nature".
As the Commission’s proposals are in the form of a recommendation, they cannot become mandatory as if written into an EU directive or regulation.
However, employment and social affairs commissioner Anna Diamontopoulou called on national governments not just to follow Brussels’ disease list plan, but to conduct further research. She noted that there was a "lack of comparative data on occupational diseases."
The recommendation also says member states should draw up "national objectives" to reduce health problems caused by the listed chemicals.*Full list – See annexes one and two to text of recommendation at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2003/sep/occ_disease_en.htm
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