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Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

European legislation provides minimum obligations aimed at protecting the health and safety of workers. This Directive therefore provides rules applicable to the workplace.


Council Directive 89/654/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace (first individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [See amending act(s)].


This Directive aims at protecting the health and safety of workers at their workplace * . It supplements the general provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC on matters of health and safety at work.

However, the Directive does not apply to:

  • means of transport used outside the undertaking or workplaces situated inside means of transport;
  • temporary or mobile work sites;
  • extractive industries;
  • fishing boats;
  • fields, woods and other land situated away from the buildings of an agricultural or forestry undertaking.

Employers’ obligations

The minimum health safety and conditions applicable are provided in Annex I to the Directive for cases where the workplaces were used for the first time after 31 December 1992 or when these locations were converted after this date.

If the workplaces were used before 1 January 1993, they must meet the requirements provided for in Annex II to the Directive.

In addition, the employer must ensure:

  • emergency exits are kept clear and can be used at all times;
  • good technical maintenance of the workplace, equipment and devices, and the quick rectification of defective elements which may present a risk;
  • adequate hygiene conditions;
  • regular maintenance and checks of safety equipment to prevent and eliminate hazards.

Information and consultation of workers

Workers and/or their representatives are informed of all measures to be taken in order to protect their health and safety.

They are consulted on all issues and measures connected with this area, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC.

Key terms
  • Workplace: means the workstations housed on the premises of the undertaking and/or establishment, and any other place within the area of the undertaking to which the worker has access in the course of his/her employment.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 89/654/EEC


31.12.1992 (31.12.94 for Greece)

OJ L 393 of 30.12.89

Amending Act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC



OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Last updated: 25.10.2011
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