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Posted: May 24, 2011

New safety guidance document for employers and employees working with nanomaterials

(Nanowerk News) The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has released a new document "Guidance working safely with nanomaterials and nanoproducts, the guide for employers and employees" (pdf).
The research has been executed on behalf of the Dutch Social Partners FNV, VNO-NCV and CNV and was financed by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.
This document provides guidance on how to organize a safe workplace when working with nanomaterials and nanoproducts. This guidance has been developed by employers and employees with combined forces. This guidance is not all-inclusive but attempts to support employers and employees who work with nanomaterials in their design of suitable control measures to organize a safe workplace according to the current state of knowledge on health and safety issues of nanomaterials. A more general awareness raising on "nano-risks" is a secondary aim.
This guidance aims to support working safely with engineered nanomaterials and is not developed to support the managing of occupational health risks arising as a consequence of any non intentionally released nanomaterials such as e.g. diesel exhaust or welding fume.
Above all, it is important to emphasize that the existing legislation for working with hazardous substances does apply always. In those cases in which the parent material of the nanomaterial in its bulk-form has been classified as CMR2 substance, or the nanomaterial itself does show CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproduction toxic) characteristics, the appropriate legislation for working with this type of substance should always be met. The most stringent measures prescribed in those cases should be leading.
After completion of the various steps of the control strategy described here, an employer should have a sound and solid basis for the development of the risk management of nanomaterials as required for working with hazardous substances in national and EU legislation. Communication with employees can proceed i.e. via regular toolbox meetings or work instructions or by developing information brochures or flyers. When (new) NMP are introduced in the company, possibly substituting bulk substances, this is a good moment for instructing employees about good work practices, possible risks and risk management measures they should take.
Source: Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
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