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Commission welcomes political agreement to better protect workers against lead and diisocyanates exposure

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The Commission welcomes the political agreement reached on 14 November between the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission's proposal to amend two Directives: for lead, the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic substances at work , and for lead and diisocyanates, the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work.

The update will improve workers' protection from the health risks linked to the exposure to dangerous chemicals: lead and diisocyanates. In the case of lead, significantly reduced exposure limits will help prevent health issues of workers, for example affecting reproductive functions and foetal development. For diisocyanates, new exposure limits will prevent cases of occupational asthma and other respiratory diseases.

This agreement marks an important step toward implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan as regards occupational safety and health, as well as the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work for 2021-2027 to further reduce workers' exposure to hazardous chemicals.

As part of the agreement, there will also be guidelines supporting member states to implement the two amended Directives, for instance as regards protection of women of childbearing age or as regards combined exposure to mixtures of substances.

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit (pictured) said: “The health and safety of workers is essential and non-negotiable. The agreement reached on these two directives will increase the protection of workers from the health risks posed by exposure to lead and diisocyanates. Another promise delivered from the EU strategic framework on occupational safety and health."

A press release is available online.

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