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Minister Pat Breen announces publication of new Health and Safety Code of Practice for Chemical Agents

Code contains details of revised safe limits for over 700 Chemical Substances

Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, has announced the publication by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) of a revised Code of Practice for the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations.

The new 2018 Code of Practice, published on the 21st of August, includes the most up-to-date OELVs (occupational exposure limit values) for over 700 chemical substances, and details of probable future changes to OELVs. This is the eleventh Code of Practice since the first was published in 1995. The HSA advises employers who use or generate hazardous substances in their workplaces to review their current chemical agent risk assessments and control measures to ensure compliance with any relevant OELVs listed, particularly where a relevant OELV has been lowered.

In announcing the publication of the new Code of Practice, Minister Breen said that “The clear expression of safe levels of exposure to chemical substances is an important feature of health and safety levels in the workplace.  The HSA’s work in constantly revising these levels is extremely valuable in this regard.  I would encourage all relevant employers to take note of the revised Code and implement whatever changes are necessary.  The health and safety of the Ireland’s workers is of paramount importance.”

The 2018 Code of Practice also supports several initiatives that the HSA are currently involved with. These include the EU Roadmap on Carcinogens, signed by Minister Breen on behalf of Ireland in August 2017. One of the main aims of the Roadmap on Carcinogens is to share good practices between companies and organisations and examples of these can be found on the Roadmap on Carcinogens website:

Minister Breen and the HSA are also currently publicising the 2018/2019 Healthy Workplaces Campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by dangerous substances in the workplace and to promote a culture of risk prevention to eliminate and, where that’s not possible, effectively manage these risks. A key element of the campaign is the Good Practice Awards, a pan-European competition designed to identify and highlight the best examples of effective management in the handling and use of dangerous substances. Entries for the Irish companies and organisations are now open.



European Chemical Legislation is the driving force through Directives and national regulatory authorities in advancing the safe use of chemicals, provides information on chemicals and addresses chemicals of concern. Occupational exposure limit values (OELVs) are health-based, non-binding values, derived from the most recent scientific data available and taking into account the availability of reliable measurement techniques. Member states are required to establish national exposure limit values for any chemical agent with an OELV, and in Ireland this is done through a Code of Practice published by the HSA.

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