|Asbestos Overview and Handling Recommendations (GTZ, 1996)|
|Part II. Asbestos|
|2. Legal regulations for the production, introduction to the market and use of Asbestos containing materials and Asbestos products|
In 1983 the Commission of the European Community enacted the Council Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to Asbestos at work (83/477/EEC). This directive is based on the 1980 Council Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to chemical, physical and biological agents at work (801 1107/EEC, EC-Agents Guideline) It contains the minimum requirements for the protection of workers from Asbestos containing hazardous materials, comparable to the TRK values in Germany.
The rules of this guideline are applicable to workplaces with a concentration of more than 0.25 fibers per cm³ air and/or a cumulative dosis of more than 15 fiber-days per cm³ air over a period of 3 months.
For this type of classified areas the following regulations apply, among others:
a) prohibition of working with Asbestos by means of spraying;
b) a limit for Asbestos fibers, except for crocidolite, of 1.0 fibers per cm³ air measured or calculated for an 8 hour reference period;
c) a limit for crocidolite of 0.5 fibers per cm³ air
measured or calculated for an 8 hour
d) for mixed Asbestos fibers a limit from b) and c) according to
the ratio of crocidolite to
other Asbestos fibers;
e) a distinct labelling using relevant warning symbols,
f) prohibition of smoking.
These limits apply only for Asbestos fibers with a length/diameter ratio of 3: 1.
Where the above limits are exceeded, appropriate measures to reduce Asbestos emissions must be performed, or if that is not possible, appropriate protective clothing and respiratory protection must be worn.
The guideline also contains general duties for employers (e.g. investigational duty, supervision duty, order to minimize the concentration of Asbestos in the air, duty to submit notification of the manufacturing and use of Asbestos containing materials).
Another EU-Guideline governs the labelling of Asbestos containing preparations and products. In 1983, the "a" for the labelling and the formulation "Achtung, enth Asbest! Gesundheitsgefahrdung beim Einatmen von Asbeststaub" ("Warning, contains Asbestos! Inhalation of Asbestos particles is hazardous to health" was incorporated into the general European Law to protect against potential health hazards. This Guideline (83/478/ EEC) represented a change to the Guideline 761769/EEC. The same applies to the Guideline 85/610/EEC, which more strictly limited the introduction to market and the use of Asbestos containing substances and preparations in 1985. Further changes followed. The latest change in the guideline dated 3 December 1991 (91/659/EEC) prohibits production and use of Asbestos containing materials in many areas of application, and in some instances intermediate provisions are stipulated.