Carcinogens Legislation and Resources

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Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Carcinogens) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 – summary of changes

·         Update to definition of carcinogens to include additional processes (See Annex 1) 

·         New limit values ( new Code of Practice due Jan 2020) 

·         Update to health surveillance requirements – “Following health surveillance, the responsible medical practitioner may indicate that health surveillance must continue after the end of exposure for as long as he or she considers it necessary to safeguard the health of the employee concerned”.


The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Carcinogens) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 078 of 2001) and The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Carcinogens) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 622 of 2015) and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Carcinogens) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (SI No. 592 of 2019)  transpose several EU Directives relating to the prevention of exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work and place a responsibility on all employers in whose premises:

  • A carcinogen
  • A mutagen
  • A carcinogenic process is used,

to assess the risk and lay down measures to ensure the safety and health of employees. 

Although the Regulations are referred to as the Carcinogen Regulations they refer to both Category 1A & 1B carcinogens and Category 1A & 1B mutagens.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (No. 10 of 2005) sets down the general requirements for the management of health and safety in the workplace.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 2007  (S.I. No 299 of 2007) set down general requirements.  Particularly relevant are:

  • Part 2 – Workplace and Work Equipment
  • Part 6 – Sensitive Risk Groups

Obligations are laid down to prevent children or young persons and pregnant, post-natal and breastfeeding employees being exposed to carcinogens. 

Depending on the nature of the work other sections may to be considered, i.e. Part 8 – Explosive Atmospheres at Places of Work.



Further information and Resources

  • The Safety Data sheet (SDS), which must be supplied with classified substances or mixtures, should include classification information with the relevant hazard and precautionary statements. 
  • The Roadmap on Carcinogens is a voluntary action scheme to raise awareness about the risks arising from exposure to carcinogens in the workplace and exchange good practices.
  • IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign aims to raise awareness of occupational cancer and help businesses take action by providing free practical resources. These include asbestos, silica dust, diesel exhaust emissions and solar radiation. 
  • BOHS Breathe Freely campaign has resources on construction health, in particular respirable crystalline silica. 
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has a comprehensive library of information.
  • Information on individual substances can be searched on the ECHA (Search for Chemicals) website
  • Information is also available from: The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) and The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)