The Parliament has, to the relief of many SMEs, rejected the proposal for an EU regulation to protect workers from sunburn. The dossier has now moved to the Council.
Council and Parliament views clash on who should regulate overexposure to sunshine to protect workers – EU or member states. Businesses find any regulation on the issue absurd.
The directive aims for prevention and early diagnosis of damage to the eyes, together with the prevention of long-term health dangers. It lays down exposure limit values and requires employers to carry out risk assessments and to set up an action plan if a risk is identified. It also includes provisions on workers’ rights to information, training, consultation and health checks.
Council’s common position on the issue (December 2004) supports the Commission’s initial proposal, but Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), voting on the issue on 7 September 2005 disagree with the Council’s common position on a very crucial point: MEPs want to leave it up to member states and national authorities to determine if any regulation on natural radiation from the sun is necessary.
As to radiation from artificial sources (e.g. from lasers), the MEPs agree that the rules are best laid down at EU level, but want the Commission to draw up a practical guide to help employers, in particular managers of smaller firms, to understand the technical provisions of the directive.