The European Commission and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have signed an agreement for the Agency to provide recommendations on a regular basis for occupational exposure limits (OELs) that protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals.

The agreement requires ECHA to assess four to five OELs per year from 2020 onwards, although the programme of OEL development will likely start right away with lead as the first priority.

The agreement with the Commission follows the second REACH Review, in which one of the proposed action points was to improve the interface between REACH and OSH legislation. OELs are at the core of ensuring the protection of workers exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Meanwhile, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has issued a document Developing a Data-driven Method for Assessing and Monitoring Exposure to Dangerous Substances in EU Workplaces presenting the foundations of a data-driven methodology, established to assess exposure to dangerous substances within EU workplaces and to provide a basis for monitoring trends and developments in exposure and use.

It summarises the approach used — combining publicly available data sources with expert evaluation and input — to identify and prioritise dangerous substances of concern. The report also highlights the drawbacks of this method and suggests potential improvements and next steps.

Last reviewed 31 January 2019