The European Construction Industry Federation- FIEC has renewed its warning that proposals within European Parliament’s revised asbestos directive look unrealistic and will prove costly for construction companies as well as their clients.
FIEC issued the statement with the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee and is expected to embrace a report on the directive’s revision.
When it comes to the centre of the debate, there is an expectation of lowering the occupational exposure limit value (OEL) by 100 times within 4 years of the refreshed directive coming into existence.
That said, FIEC is of the opinion that, according to some estimates, when it comes to the national level, lowering OEL by as much as 10 times over a period of many years has not even trebled but at times even quadrupled the cost of asbestos removal. As per the federation, these additional costs include the adoption of new as well as longer procedures, an elevated protective individual measurement process, the management of waste, as well as environmental and collective equipment.
By contrast, these costs do not take into consideration the additional costs implied for labs in order to buy better machines and also upskill the existing staff. Among other worrying elements, it is anticipated that the sporadic and low-intensity exposure concept will be slashed from the directive. This will, in all possibilities, lead to a market structure change, thereby pushing out most of the construction companies from the market that deal with asbestos temporarily, which will prove to be an advantage for the specialised companies.
Protection when it comes to the health and safety of the workers has always been a top priority for the FIEC’s agenda, and it is not going to be any different this time around. That said, FIEC is extremely anxious that the European Parliament’s proposal may not be realistic at all when it comes to implementation by professionals and also with a risk that too expensive and hard rules will prove to be harmful for the companies as well as their clients so as to work within the legal gamut and for home owners as well when it comes to undertaking renovation works that are expensive.
A more realistic process will be sticking to the European Commission’s proposal for an OEL that is lowered to 0.01 fibres/cu cm, teamed with at least a five-year transition period. It is well to be noted that FIEC represents 32 national member federations across 27 countries and also construction companies of all sizes as well as international players carrying out all kinds of civil engineering and building activities.