Protection of workers from asbestos: EU at work

14 October 2022

On 28 September 2022, the European Commission presented a comprehensive approach to better protect people and the environment from asbestos and ensure an asbestos-free future. According to an analysis carried out by the Member States, 78% of recognised occupational cancers are related to asbestos.

We are well aware that asbestos, despite being banned in the EU since 2005, is still present in old buildings. The danger of this substance for workers increases when renovations are carried out or works that may otherwise disturb the materials containing it.

In addition, the EU has stated that one of the objectives to increase people’s quality of life is to push Europe in the direction of the Green Deal, in fact the EU intends to increase the rate of renovation of buildings.  “Thanks to the renovations, residents will enjoy better health and living conditions and lower energy bills, but the risks of exposure to asbestos will also increase, particularly for construction workers.”

The European Commission has defined in the presentation a global approach to public health with the following objectives


  • Better support victims of asbestos-related diseases.
  • The Commission will consult the Tripartite Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work on the recognition of further asbestos-related diseases as occupational diseases.
  • The Commission has proposed a new EU approach to cancer detection, including an update of the 2003 Council Recommendation on Cancer Screening.
  • Better protect workers from asbestos. The Commission intends to:
  • propose today a revision of the Directive on exposure to asbestos at work, aimed at significantly reducing the occupational exposure limit value for asbestos;
  • update the guidelines to support Member States, employers and workers in the implementation of the revised Directive; and
  • launch an awareness campaign on the safe removal of asbestos.
  • Improve information about asbestos in buildings. The Commission intends to:
  • submit a legislative proposal on the detection and registration of asbestos in buildings. Member States will be invited to develop national strategies for asbestos removal; and
  • propose a regulatory approach for the introduction of digital building registers in order to improve the sharing and use of building data, from design to construction to demolition.
  • Ensure the safe disposal of asbestos and zero pollution. The Commission intends to:
  • revise the EU Protocol for the Management of Construction and Demolition Waste and the Guidelines for Waste Verifications prior to Demolition and Renovation of Buildings; and
  • launch a study to identify asbestos waste management practices and new treatment technologies.

The EU provides substantial funding through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the European Social Fund Plus and the European Regional Development Fund to support Member States in the areas of health prevention, treatment, restructuring and safe disposal of asbestos.


Commissione Europea – “Provvedimenti della Commissione per proteggere meglio le persone dall’amianto e garantire un futuro senza amianto”-ec.europa-


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