Amended proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields)

Published: 15 December 2003

Policies & Issues: Internal Market - Product Safety Legislation

Orgalime / WEM position

Between them, ORGALIME and WEM (our sister organisation representing employers’ federations) represent about 200 000 companies employing some 12 million people over 22 European countries, 97% of them are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

On the basis of the outcome of the work in the Social Question Working Party (8/10/2003), WEM and ORGALIME have updated their comments in the view to give an input to Members of the European Parliament, prior to its Second Reading.

The draft Common Position of the Council on an amended proposal for a Directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents(electromagnetic fields)is at odds with the Commission's better regulation principles endorsed earlier this year by the European Parliament. No detailed impact assessment or any proper consultation of stakeholders accompanies the text, its true impact on business is still unknown and any benefits said to accrue from its introduction have not been identified. Therefore the directive places a disproportionate administrative burden and assessment cost on companies without corresponding health benefits. This negative impact will we believe, be felt most keenly in the manufacturing and the health sectors.

If the outcome of the political agreement reached by the Council on 20/10/2003 is largely improving the initial proposal of the Commission for this physical agent, we firmly believe that this directive may still raise major difficulties for a significant number of our members’ companies, especially SMEs in the mechanical and metalworking field.

This Directive aims at preventing that EMF exposure may provoke acute effects on workers’ health. This risk are in practice extremely low in the overwhelming majority of businesses, even if the limit values based on ICNIRP Guidelines are exceeded. Therefore we believe that the current wording of article 8 on health surveillance, as agreed upon by the Council, should be considered as appropriate.

References: 92/0449/C (COD)

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