On March 16, 2022, Directive (EU) 2022/431 was published in the Official Gazette, amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work.
The innovations introduced mainly concern:
- The definition of new biological limit values and related provisions for substances that are toxic for the reproduction and reprotoxic substances;
- Introduction of the obligation of health surveillance when working in contact with carcinogens, mutagens or substances toxic for reproduction for which a biological limit value is set in Annex IIIa. Health surveillance, which may also include biological monitoring, is a responsibility of the competent doctor, who must propose individual protection or prevention measures that has to be adopted by workers. New obligations regarding the conservation of individual health records are also established (at least 40 years for carcinogens, from the end of the exposure, and 5 years for substances toxic for reproduction);
- New limit values have been established for substances, as acrylonitrile, nickel and its compounds, benzene, respirable crystalline silica and others.
Directive 2022/431 came into force on the twentieth day following the date of its publication in the Official Gazette, while member states have until April 5, 2024 to transpose it.
In some cases, however, transitional periods for compliance are granted, defined by a precise time-line.