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Chemical Agents Directive

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Title: Protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work

Council Directive 98/24/EC of 7 April 1998

1. Issued by / date / date of implementation

EU / April 1998 / May 2001

2. Type of legislation

Directive, to be implemented by all EU Member States according to the subsidiary principle by their means. Individual directive in the frame of the OSH Framework Directive 89/391.

3. General purpose

Establishing ‘minimum requirements for the protection of workers from risks to their safety and health arising, or likely to arise, from the effects of chemical agents that are present at the workplace or as a result of any work activity involving chemical agents.’

4. Substitution relevant paragraphs

Article 6

Specific protection and prevention measures

1. The employer shall ensure that the risk from a hazardous chemical agent to the safety and health of workers at work is eliminated or reduced to a minimum.

2. In applying paragraph 1, substitution shall by preference be undertaken, whereby the employer shall avoid the use of a hazardous chemical agent by replacing it with a chemical agent or process which, under its condition of use, is not hazardous or less hazardous to workers’ safety and health, as the case may be.

Where the nature of the activity does not permit risk to be eliminated by substitution, the employer shall ensure that the risk is reduced to a minimum by application of protection and prevention measures, consistent with the assessment of the risk. Determination and assessment of risk of hazardous chemical agents should be made as presented in Article 4.

5. Assessment of relevance for substitution (SUBSPORT)

Substitution is defined as first priority; all Member States have to follow this principle in their national legislation. Substitution is stated as a general demand; there are no concrete measures foreseen to stop the application of less effective and less prioritized risk reduction measures.

6. Link to the legal text

7. Further information

7.1 Studies or publications about the legislation or its impact

  • Chemical Agents Directive Implementation (CADimple project) website can be found here

7.2 Other relevant legislation

  • German TRGS 600: Technical rules for hazardous substances – substitution (English): archived copy or original document
  • Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee concerning the Guidelines of a non-binding nature for implementing certain provisions of Directive 98/24/EC of the Council on the protection of the health and safety of workers form the risks related to chemical agents at work: archived copy or original document

Last update: 18.11.2010

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