Members' Research Service By / June 30, 2023

Protection of workers from asbestos at work [EU Legislation in Progress]

Asbestos is a highly dangerous, cancer-causing substance that is still present in many buildings in the European Union and is responsible for many avoidable deaths.

© Ecology / Adobe Stock

Written by Laurence Amand-Eeckhout (2nd edition, updated on 22.09.2023).

On 28 September 2022, the European Commission proposed a revision of the 2009 Directive on the protection of workers from the risk of exposure to asbestos. The aim of the proposal is to lower the occupational exposure limit (OEL) value, which is mandatory in all Member States. Despite the total ban on the use of asbestos in the EU, exposure to this carcinogenic fibre, which is still present in millions of buildings, kills more than 70 000 people a year in Europe.

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) adopted its report on the proposal on 26 April 2023. The mandate to enter interinstitutional negotiations was endorsed by the plenary the following month. On 27 June 2023, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement. The Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee approved the agreement on 19 July 2023. In the European Parliament, the EMPL committee approved it on 7 September 2023. The vote in plenary on Parliament’s first-reading position is expected to take place in October.


Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work
Committee responsible:Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL)COM(2022) 489
Rapporteur:Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Renew, France)2022/0298(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Cindy Franssen (EPP, Belgium)
Marianne Vind (S&D, Denmark)
Sara Matthieu (Greens/EFA, Belgium)
Joanna Kopcinska (ECR, Poland)
Elena Lizzi (ID, Italy)
Nikolaj Villumsen (The Left, Denmark
Ordinary legislative
procedure (COD) (Parliament
and Council on equal footing
– formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Final first-reading vote in plenary
voted in Plenary

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