On 25 April 2006, 15 industry sectors (i.e. more than 2 million employees and a business exceeding € 250 billion ) including Euromines and EMCEF (European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers' Federation) signed the multi-sectoral social dialogue "Agreement on Workers Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing it". This agreement has entered into force on 25 October 2006. Euromines members concerned with respirable crystalline silica exposure at the workplace have thus committed themselves to do a risk assessment at the workplaces checking for the presence of respirable crystalline silica, monitor the possible exposure to the substance, apply the good practices that are currently available and listed in the good practice guide and organise the necessary training for applying these good practices.
Following the conclusion of the NEPSI agreement in 2007 all concerned industrial sectors that had signed up for the agreement reported in 2008 for the first time on the first steps of implementation.
Those Euromines members that were concerned with the issue actively reported on the communication and awareness raising within their companies, the nomination of responsible people and training carried out.
The 17 initial signatory organisations represent the aggregates, cement, ceramics, foundry, glass fibre, special glass, container glass, flat glass, industrial minerals, mineral wool, natural stones, mining, mortar and pre-cast concrete sectors. The Agreement has recently welcomed the expanded clay sector and represents to date 18 European industry sectors. It remains open for further signatures.
The agreement, its annexes and the good practice guide have been translated into 19 EU languages and can be downloaded from www.nepsi.eu
(NEPSI is the acronym for the resulting European Network for Silica formed by the Employee and Employer European sectoral associations).