Warning on substance limits change issued

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Business urged to review revised workplace exposure limits for 31 chemical substances might impact their organisation and employees
Business urged to review revised workplace exposure limits for 31 chemical substances might impact their organisation and employees
Testing, inspection and certification provider Bureau Veritas has urged employers to carefully consider how the recent introduction of new and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs) for 31 chemical substances might impact their organisation and employees.

The latest version of EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits guidance, published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) incorporates updated recommendations introduced last year by EU-OSHA (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work) in its fourth Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values Directive.

The guidance has been designed to inform those responsible for controlling exposure to hazardous substances at work, to ensure organisations are compliant with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. 

‘Thousands of substances’

Gerard Mooney, senior consultant – occupational hygiene at Bureau Veritas, said: “Among the thousands of substances used in workplaces, around 500 have set WELs, with a total of 31 highlighted by the HSE in this latest guidance, either with revised limits set or as new entries.

“The food and manufacturing industries will be particularly affected by the changes, relating to new WELs around diacetyl for the former and manganese, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen monoxide for the latter.​”

Mooney said both industries would face challenges in the years to come from managing the substances safely.  

‘Review the new and revised limits’

“We would encourage employers to review the new and revised limits included in the latest WELs guidance – published on the HSE website – to fully understand how it might affect their organisation and employees,”​ added Mooney.

“Any changes required to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation associated with hazardous substances, such as COSHH and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, would need to take effect immediately, to safeguard employee wellbeing.”

Related topics: Regulation, Manufacturing

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