KAN Report 2
|Standardization in the field of safety and health at the workplace (Article 118a of the EC Treaty), 11/1995
K.-H. Grass (700 KB)
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This study was aimed at developing a basis for the evaluation of completed, current and planned standards in the field of EC directives on occupational health and safety (Article 118a). Moreover, it was meant to lay down a strategy for asserting the German position on occupational health at the European level.
The inquiries that were necessary to develop an evaluation basis have been made by means of the information systems from the German Standards Institute (DIN). Using three different classes of so-called descriptors, about 2500 completed and current standards were made out, of which 200 standards and standardization projects seemed to be within the scope of Article 118a of the EC Treaty. These standards and standardization projects were assigned to different groups and fields of regulation and were individually analysed.
The examination of the completed and current standards led to different results depending on the field of regulation. The areas of "Principles/working systems" and "Visual display units/office work" are supported and sometimes overloaded by scientific knowledge. Some standardization groups in the fields "Workplaces/Parameters", "Work equipment/Danger zones" and "Physical performance/Manual handling" come under Article 118a and must be given priority when defining the German position on occupational health and safety. Standardization in the fields of "Personal protective equipment/Working areas" and "Marking/Danger signals", however, does not seem to raise major problems.
The fields "Risk analysis/Risk assessment", "Dangerous stuffs/Hygiene" and "Work environment/Safety analysis" must be particularly considered in view of occupational health and safety, because in these areas, standardization often deals with the interfaces between the nature of a product and its application.
As far as future standards are concerned, 141 standardization projects whose titles suggest a link to Article 118a have been identified.
The study comes to the conclusion that most standardizers are aware of the existing problems in relation to Article 118a. Nevertheless, discrepancies between occupational health and safety and standardization will continue to exist.
About 50 areas in which standardization is suitable or unsuitable have been pointed out respectively. In the light of the European situation and the sensitive areas described, the division of labour into public legislation and private regulations developed in Germany over the years must be reconsidered to some extend.
In order to push forward occupational health and safety and the principle of subsidiarity as well as to reduce the burden on standardization, European conventions on the design of the working environment could be prepared.
Thus, it is desirable that further national organisations similar to KAN - the Commission for occupational safety, health and standardization - should be established at the European level, so that difficulties and incompatibilities occurring in the standardization process may be solved in mutual agreement and at an early stage.
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European Draft Standards at Public Enquiry Stage (OSH), Source: NoRA [show list]