Health and safety a top priority for EU lead industry
Commenting on the EU Strategic Framework on Health & Safety at Work (2021-2027), published today (June 28) Dr Steve Binks, Director of Regulatory Affairs at ILA, said: “The International Lead Association (ILA) and its members support establishing ambitious health and safety standards for EU workers and we welcome the adoption of the new framework by the College of the Commissioners.
Lead is an essential raw material used in renewable energy technologies and in battery production, all of which are vital for meeting the EU’s climate objectives. However, it remains critically important to maintain the highest possible standards of worker health and safety. We therefore continue to support the process of amending the existing binding EU workplace limit values for lead and lead compounds that is outlined in the Strategic Framework, having requested that the Commission prioritise a review of the outdated EU limits in 2017. We believe that a well-implemented and enforced occupational safety and health (OSH) framework is the most effective and proportionate regulatory risk management tool for protecting workers from the effects of occupational exposure to chemicals. We therefore welcome the Commission’s intention to continue to streamline the interface between OSH legislation and REACH.
Through our seven Material Stewardship guiding principles, ILA members are committed to responsible lead manufacturing and battery recycling, placing environmental, health and safety excellence at the heart of their operations. Our Industry is dedicated to the safe management of lead by setting continuous improvement targets and sharing best practice to reduce risks of occupational exposure. This commitment is exemplified by our successful voluntary blood lead reduction programme that has delivered a 65% reduction in the number of employees in ILA member companies with a blood lead exceeding our current target of 20 µg Pb/dL compared to our 2013 baseline.
We believe that the new EU Strategic Framework on Health & Safety at Work will help deliver a safer and healthier workplace for all, and we look forward to working with the European Commission on its successful implementation.”
Cover image: Boliden Area, Kristineberg, Mine automation underground. Photo credit: Tomas Westermark