HSE Launch Consultation on Workplace Exposure Limits

The HSE have launched a consultation on proposals to implement amendments to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC).

This introduces or revises occupational exposure limit values for a number of carcinogens, including hardwood dust. The Directive also classifies Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) as a carcinogen where it is generated as result of a work process.

The consultation sets out HSE’s proposals for the substances contained in the amendment to the Directive, subject to the ongoing negotiations on our relationship with the EU. The consultation proposes to do this by revising the HSE publication EH40/2005 – Workplace Exposure Limits.

The WEL for hardwood (and softwood) dust is currently 5mg/m3. The new OELV (8-hour Time Waited Average) is expected to reduce to 3mg/m3 in January 2020.

If hardwood dust is mixed with other wood dust the limit will apply to all wood dusts present in that mixture).

The Directive includes a transitional period ending on 17 January 2023, after which a lower limit of 2mg/m3 applies for hardwood dust. HSE will consult separately on this at a later date

The HSE have asked for comments on the proposals. Further information, including the consultation document and online response is now available. The consultation will close on 7 June 2019

If you need help in understanding how this effects your business then please contact us for more information.