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Working Group on European Exposure Limits (WEELS) - Meeting 18 May 2004

Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances

Meeting of WEELS held on 18 May 2004 in the Anne Scully Room, Rose Court


Ms T Quinn (acting Chair)
Mr D Bloor
Mr R Chapman
Mr M Haugseng
Prof. A Hay
Dr L Levy
Ms A Margary
Ms S Murray
Ms C Northage HSE
Mr P Ridgway HSE
Ms C Sullivan HSE (for Items 1 and 2)
Mr R A Pedersen HSE
Ms J Harris HSE

Apologies were received from Mr Warner, Dr Fletcher, Dr Lewis, Dr Owen (Ms Margary replacing) and Mr Wright (HSL)

Item 1 Action Note of the meeting held on 23 October 2003 and matters arising

[Actions incumbent on HSE and members, arising out of the previous meeting, had all been complied with. There was some discussion on the issue of the proposed Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit for isocyanates, and industry’s reaction to it.

Depending on the outcome of the meeting between industry and HSE on isocyanates, WEELS members who were also members of WATCH agreed to raise the question of WATCH consideration of isocyanates at the meeting on 10 June, during its discussion on the role of WATCH in the EU limit-setting process.

HSE would consider whether or not it was appropriate to approach other Member States to discover their views on IOELVs for isocyanates.

HSE noted a TUC member’s interest in attending the industry/HSE meeting on isocyanates.]

Item 2  The role of the ACTS Working Group for Action on Toxic Chemicals (WATCH)

[Members discussed the relationship and possible interaction between WEELS and WATCH

HSE agreed to obtain copies of the HSC document  “A Strategy for Workplace Health and Safety in Great Britain to 2010 and Beyond” for circulation to members.

HSE undertook to investigate for members the position with regard to its moratorium on the production of publications.]

Item 3  The WEELS webpage – latest developments

[HSE informed members of the newly-developed webpage designed for ease of dissemination of documents to members.

HSE would send out details of the access codes for the WEELS password-protected site to all members.

HSE would consider ways of improving and developing the site in the future, moving towards more openness in line with ACTS.]

Item 4  Reasonable Practicability and Technical Feasibility – consideration of TUC note (WEELS/01/2004)

[The additional TUC note commenting on the earlier paper was discussed.

HSE would make a minor typographical change to the paper, amending “above” to “below”.

HSE agreed to consider whether practical guidance, giving examples of the appropriate use of “reasonably practicable” for chemical control, was possible.

HSE agreed to discuss with Field Operations Directorate and other colleagues whether it might be appropriate to arrange a meeting/dialogue on an inspector’s approach to reasonable practicability.]

Item 5 Update on the 2nd IOELV Directive  

[HSE updated members on the latest position with regard to the 2nd European Commission Directive on Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs)

All those present agreed that it would be useful to draw lessons from the negotiation of the 2nd IOELV Directive, with particular reference to nitrogen monoxide (NO), and to ensure there was no repetition during the later stages of negotiations again.  Industry and Trade Unions acknowledged that they, too, were responsible for lobbying/ building alliances with Europe at an early stage.

HSE would consider putting forward the idea of a “EuroCHAN” for substances where it was recognised that the ILV was an “unsafe” limit.]

Item 6 Carcinogens – HSE sub-programme and EU activity

[HSE gave a verbal update on the current position with regard to the proposed changes to the Carcinogens Directive and HSE’s present strategy for control of carcinogens at work.

HSE agreed to copy to members the 1st Stage consultation document on revisions to the Carcinogens Directive

HSE would try and establish what bodies were consulted, as part of the European Commission’s Social Partner consultation process.

HSE would consider the possibility of holding a special WEELS meeting to discuss carcinogen-related issues.]

Item 7  SCOEL activities (WEELS/03/2004) 

[Members considered the document produced by one of the UK members of the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL).

HSE undertook to provide a similar breakdown of SCOEL discussions as soon as possible after each SCOEL meeting.

The official from HSE CSD1 agreed to act as a link between WEELS and the UK SCOEL member.]

Item 8 Any Other Business (Priority substances for consideration by the National Experts Working Group on Occupational Exposure Limits (NEWG))

[HSE informed members of the request from NEWG for priority substances for consideration and recommendation to the European Commission/ SCOEL.  An initial UK priority list had already been prepared.

WEELS members agreed to submit their reactions to the list of substances tabled, and notify additional substances by 26 May, in order that HSE could meet the NEWG deadline of 30 May.  If necessary, HSE could consider submitting late comments/additions at the NEWG meeting on 1 July 2004.]

Item 9 Date of next meeting

[The next meeting would take place in November.]

Updated 2010-09-15