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Brussels, 21 June 2013
Employment and Social Affairs: Commission welcomes Council adoption of new rules to protect workers from harmful electromagnetic fields and agreement on European Globalisation Fund
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor has welcomed the final adoption by the EU's Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers in Luxembourg on 20 June of the Commission's proposal for a Directive to update and improve EU rules to protect workers from electromagnetic fields in their workplace (see IP/11/704). Commissioner Andor also welcomed the agreement by the Council of a general approach on the Commission's proposal for a Regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund 2014-2020 (EGF).
Protecting workers against electromagnetic fields
The new Directive will protect workers such as doctors and nurses giving patients magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI), people working with radar, welders and workers repairing power lines.
The proposed Directive will clarify the definitions of adverse effects on health, introduce an updated exposure limits system (frequencies that are recognised as having harmful effects on the human cardiovascular system or the central nervous system), as well as a number of provisions to make it easier for employers to carry out the risk assessments required by law.
Commissioner László Andor commented: "The new rules ensure a good balance between better protecting EU workers against harmful exposure to electromagnetic fields, and limiting the regulatory burden for small and medium businesses. Both workers and businesses stand to gain from these new rules."
Member States will have to implement the Directive in their national law by 1 July 2016.
European Globalisation Fund
The European Globalisation Fund (EGF) exists to help workers develop new skills and find new jobs when they have lost their jobs as a result of changing global trade patterns. The 20th June Council agreed to continue the EGF in the 2014-20 period and to reinstate the 'crisis clause', under which the EGF can also be used to help workers who lost their jobs as a consequence of the global financial and economic crisis.
Commissioner László Andor commented: "The EGF is a key instrument to help redundant workers upgrade their skills and prepare for new job opportunities. The crisis is far from over and too many people are experiencing difficulties in finding a job, which is why it is also crucial that the EGF can be used to fend off the effects of current - or future - economic and financial crises".
The general approach will now go to the European Parliament of their consideration.
For more information
László Andor's website
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