Running EU projects

Reducing Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust Effectively

31/03/2020

With the revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive an Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) of 0.1 mg/m³ for respirable crystalline silica was established. The European Social Partners organisations for the Construction sector EFBWW and FIEC  consider the practical implementation of this new limit value as a challenge.

This project shall aim at providing state of the art guidance and support to construction companies and workers in view of a proper implementation of the European occupational exposure limit value for Respirable Crystalline Silica. In this respect, the project aims at a precise mapping of construction activities and the elaboration of specific corresponding guidance. The guidance shall focus on technical and organisational measures specific for the various occupations, as well as on identifying more problematic activities for which it is difficult or not possible to meet the new limit value with the tools/technologies and protective equipment available today.

The project partners EFBWW and FIEC  believe that, based on the technical state of the art, solutions for sound prevention of exposure to RCS are achievable for most construction activities. So as to reach those levels, a dialogue between social partners from various countries, the respective prevention bodies and other stakeholders (amongst others the providers of technical equipment) is crucial and a good starting point. We are aiming at bringing together those stakeholders in the framework of this project.

This is a precondition to figure out the state of the art in terms of prevention against RCS exposure.

The goals of the project are to:

  1. Bring together stakeholders for a better prevention against RCS exposure in construction works;
  2. Map various types of construction works and evaluate their level of RCS exposure;
  3. Evaluate the level of protection needed for the different types of construction works identified and the feasibility of keeping the exposure below the limit value (traffic light system);
  4. Describe technical and organisational measures to reach the best achievable level of protection;
  5. Make the information available in as many languages as possible;
  6. Provide guidance on the needed technical innovations for those activities for which the new limit value is more complicated or impossible to achieve.

On a second level, the project aims at fostering discussions and activities at national level. This shall be ensured through the active involvement of our respective members at national level, the involvement of experts from, amongst others, national prevention institutions and the continuous reporting within the structures of the European Social Dialogue.

In addition to the deliverables listed below, we aim at designing a precise dissemination and follow-up activity plan, guaranteeing a long-lasting impact of the project.

The project partners intend to organise a one-day workshop (dealing with goals 1, 2, and 3) at the beginning of the project and a final conference to present the project results and deliverables at the end. The workshop shall be followed by further compiling existing material, desk research and the evaluation of the existing material. All these activities as well as the drafting of the mapping and the technical guidance paper shall be elaborated by an external expert.

The planned deliverables are the following:

- Mapping of construction activities/Traffic Light System indicating the level of potential exposure according to the type of activity, of process, of material or protective equipment used, etc.
- Guidance for technical and organisational measures to comply with the new limit value for the various construction activities  – (Mapping and technical Guidance will be jointly presented in a printed “Guidance-Map”;
- Identification of those construction activities for which it is complicated or not possible to achieve the limit value with the current state of the art, together with proposals for  measures to improve the situation.