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Legislation is in place to protect workers in the EU from the harmful effects of dangerous substances. Resources are available to help you understand this legislation and put it into practice. Here we present some of the most relevant EU legislation and where you can find more information and guidance on applying it in your workplace.

The EU occupational safety and health legislation that has a specific focus on protecting workers from dangerous substances includes:

Risk assessment is the foundation of this legislation and is a legal requirement of all employers if dangerous substances are present in their workplace. Employers must also follow a specific hierarchy of prevention measures: elimination, substitution, technological measures, organisational measures and, finally, personal protection.

Other guidelines and regulations include the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation. Chemical products must be labelled with risk symbols. The supplier has to provide safety data sheets for each chemical product. This safety data sheet contains information on substance properties, hazards, storage and handling precautions, appropriate risk prevention measures and forbidden uses.

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