Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) are concentrations of hazardous substances in the air, approved by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC). Employers have a responsibility to ensure that these limits are not exceeded in order to protect the health of workers.
The directive lists 33 substances with exposure limits, for which Member States must introduce a domestic occupational exposure limit by September 2007. For many of the 33 substances, a comparable Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) already exists in Great Britain and has been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The consultation document proposes to introduce WELs for 7 substances where one does not currently exist and reduce the limit of the WELs
for13 substances. It is proposed that the new and revised WELs will be introduced on 6 April 2007.
1. Further details of the proposed changes can be found in the Consultative Document which is available on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/consult/live.htm. The consultation period will last for 12 weeks, and comments on the proposals should be sent to Steve Mason, Health and Safety Executive, 9SW Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS (or mailto:email@example.com) to reach him no later than 27 September 2006.
2. WELs have been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in its publication EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits. The list of current WELs is also available on the HSE website, www.hse.gov.uk
3. Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs) take their legal base from the Chemical Agents Directive (98/24/EC).
4. EH40/2005 also implements the 1st European Commission Directive on IOELVs (2000/39/EC) and Annex III of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC).
5. Separate arrangements are in hand to implement the 2nd IOELV Directive in Northern Ireland and in Gibraltar.