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HSC issues proposals to change occupational exposure limit framework


The HSC have published a discussion document containing proposals that would make it easier for firms to comply with their legal duty to control workers’ exposure to chemicals.

The proposals include suggestions for modernizing and streamlining the process of setting occupational exposure limits (OELs) and ideas for linking them to advice on good practice.


"Produced by a working group of the HSC’s Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances (ACTS), members (made up of representatives from industry, trade unions and independent experts) discussed options ranging from minor changes to the present system to more radical options. Research carried out in the 1990s showed that industry in general made little use of current guidance. The working group is keen to hear views from anyone with an interest in the use of chemicals in the workplace — employees, employers, safety representatives, specialists in occupational health and safety etc."

"The working group will consider the responses to the document alongside other research on the operation of the current system and make formal proposals for changes to the OEL framework. Subject to approval by the HSC, these will be published in a formal consultation docu-ment in 2003. Any changes to the COSHH Regulations would not occur until 2004."

The full text of the discussion document can be viewed or downloaded on the HSE website (link below). Copies can be obtained free of charge from the address given below.

"Comments on the proposals set out in the document should be sent to: Sara Wassell, Health Directorate, Chemical Policy Division, Health and Safety Executive, 6SW, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HS; email:, to arrive by 31 July 2002."



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