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Commission proposes Directive on health and safety of workers at risk from explosive atmospheres

The European Commission has published a proposal for a Council Directive on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers who are potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres (95/C 332/06).

For the purposes of the proposed Directive, an expl...
The European Commission has published a proposal for a Council Directive on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers who are potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres (95/C 332/06).

For the purposes of the proposed Directive, an explosive atmosphere is described as "a mixture with air, under atmospheric conditions, of flammable substances in the form of gases, vapours, mists or dusts, in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture".

The proposal lists a number of obligations on employers to take certain technical and/or organizational measures aimed at:

- Preventing the formation of explosive atmospheres;
- Preventing the ignition of explosive atmospheres;
- Reducing the effects of an explosion in such a way as to ensure that workers are not put at risk.

It also lays down special requirements for work equipment and workplaces.

The proposal does not cover medical facilities used directly for treating patients, the normal use of appliances burning gaseous fuels, the handling of explosives and chemically unstable substances, mineral-extracting industries (which are covered separately by Directives 92/91 and 92/104) and the use of means of transport, including sea-going vessels (covered by international agreements such as the ADR and IMO).
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