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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 October 2013

Health and Safety: Commission refers Spain to Court for failing to protect Civil Guard

The European Commission has decided to refer Spain to the EU's Court of Justice for not fully applying the EU Directive that establishes basic rules on protecting workers' health and safety to members of the Civil Guard ('Guardia Civil').

The Commission considers that Spain has not adequately ensured the appointment of qualified personnel to verify that health and safety protection measures are put in place in all Civil Guard workplaces. This is in breach of Article 7 of Directive 89/391/EEC, which requires employers to provide necessary staff and equipment to ensure that preventive and protective actions, such as risk assessments, can be carried out.

The Spanish authorities have admitted that in some workplaces of the Civil Guard, the mandatory risks assessments were not carried out due to the lack of qualified personnel and adequate equipment.

By not performing risk assessment in all workplaces of the Civil Guard, the Spanish authorities are also in breach of Article 6 of Directive 89/391/EEC, which implies that the employer will not be in possession of risk assessment documentation as required by Article 9 of the same Directive.

In September 2012, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to the Spanish authorities requesting them to implement the Directive correctly as regards members of the Civil Guard (MEMO/12/708). The Commission stressed that the lack of compliance with these provisions would expose a high number of Guardia Civil workers to risks of personal injury or exposure to health hazards. The Commission also underlined that prevention of and protection from work-related risks should be carried out in each workplace, in order to guarantee the protection of every worker.

Since the Spanish authorities have still not correctly implemented the Directive, the Commission has decided to refer Spain to Court.

Further information

Health and Safety at work

For more information on infringement procedures:

On the general infringement procedure: MEMO/12/12

On the October infringement package decisions: MEMO/13/907

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Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Cécile Dubois (+32 2 295 18 83)

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