HSE Open Consultation on Carcinogenic Workplace Exposure Limits


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an open consultation on proposals to implement new amendments to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC), which would affect workplace exposure limits (WELs) for numerous hazardous carcinogenic products.

Directive 2017/2398 (which would amend Directive 2004/37/EC) updates 2 existing occupational exposure limit values and introduces 11 new ones, with the aim of better protecting workers from exposure to carcinogens and mutagens in the workplace.

Rather than enforcing the amendments without warning, the HSE hopes affected companies and individuals will share their views on the proposed changes through a public consultation to provide ‘an open and transparent approach to its decision-making.’


You can respond to the consultation in three ways:


While the reduced WELs may mean the revision of risk assessments and the introduction of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) or additional use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) in some cases, the HSE have said that it “estimates that there should not be [a] significant additional cost to businesses from introducing the limits with a transposition date of 2020, given existing patterns of use, control or the current level of requirements in GB.”

They do however concede that “there may be some impacts in practice in certain construction and manufacturing sectors, where it is possible that the new limits go beyond what is currently required…”


One example of this could be seen in the new lower limit for hardwood dusts, decreasing from 5mg/m3 to 3mg/m3. Were a workshop’s LEV to only limit the exposure to 4mg/m3, RPE may also need to be employed to meet the new regulations.

For more information and to fill our your own survey, please visit the HSE’s website.