Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) (Amendment) Regulations 2021

Jurisdiction: Republic of Ireland

Commencement: 12th May 2021

Amends: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001

Mini Summary

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001 transpose Council Directive 98/24/EC on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work. The Regulations also transpose the related Commission Directive 2000/39/EC  establishing a first list of indicative occupational exposure limit values in implementation of Council Directive 98/24/EC, through an approved Code of Practice.

The Regulations define activity involving chemical agents, biological limit value, chemical agent, hazard, hazardous chemical agent, health surveillance, occupational exposure limit value and risk.

The Regulations set down obligations on employers as regards:-

  1. determination and assessment of the risk of hazardous chemical agents
  2. prevention and control of exposure to hazardous chemical agents
  3. specific protection and prevention measures
  4. arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
  5. information, training and consultation
  6. health surveillance, including biological monitoring, and exposure records.

The Regulations also set out duties for employees and they provide for prohibitions and exemptions relating to the production, manufacture, or use at work of specified chemical agents

The regulations revoke and replace:

  • (SI 219/1988 European Communities (Protection of Workers) (Exposure to Lead) Regulations 1998
  • (SI 251/1989) European Communities (Protection of Workers) (Exposure to Chemical, Physical and Biological Agents) Regulations 1989
  • (SI 285/1991) Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 (Control of Specific Substances and Activities) Regulations 1991
  • (SI 445/1994) Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 1994



The Authority sets out the Codes of Practice* for work activities involving chemical agents, based on the relevant occupational exposure limit value.

*The Codes of Practice are written practical guidance, taking into consideration the legal requirements or prohibitions for work activities within industries.

The definition of ‘occupational exposure limit value’ is updated to mean the limit of the time-weighted average* of the concentration of a chemical agent within a worker’s breathing zone for a time period set out by the Codes of Practice.

*The time-weighed average is a worker’s daily exposure to hazardous substances which is calculated using the following:

  • an 8-hour work day or 40-hour work week;
  • the average levels of exposure to the hazardous substance; and
  • the time spent in that area.


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