25 February 2014

The European Commission has confirmed plans for a new directive that will amend five existing European health and safety directives in order to align them with new EU rules on chemical packaging and labelling, which will come into force on 1 June 2015.

In the UK, the provisions of the new European Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures, (the CLP Regulation, Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008) will replace most of the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009 (CHIP).

The new EU directive will amend five existing EU health and safety directives, which focus on the protection of workers from exposure to harmful chemicals, in order to align them with the CLP Regulation. The five directives to be amended by the proposal are:

  • Safety Signs at Work Directive (92/58/EEC)

  • Maternity Protection (Pregnant Workers) Directive (92/85/EEC)

  • Young People at Work Directive (94/33/EC)

  • Chemical Agents at Work Directive (98/24/EC)

  • Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive 2004/37/EC).

All of the above directives currently refer to existing EU chemical classification and labelling legislation that will be repealed on 1 June 2015 in accordance with the CLP Regulation.

Member States now have until June 2015 to implement the new provisions in their national legislation.

A source at the European Commission said, “Every day millions of EU workers are potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals in a wide range of employment sectors including manufacturing and service industries, agriculture, healthcare and education. The new rules will ensure that the requirements of the five directives, which protect workers when using chemicals, are brought in line with the recently introduced new rules for the supply of chemicals.”