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Parliamentary questions
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6 June 2017
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-002556/2017

1. The Commission applies strict measures to prevent any conflict of interest by the members of the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL). The character of work conducted by SCOEL implies that many eligible experts will have a useful mix of academic expertise and applied industry experience. Upon entry into service, potential conflicts of interest of SCOEL members was assessed on the basis of their declaration of interest (DoI) and appropriate mitigating measures put in place. For example, members with industry affiliation do not participate in substances evaluation.

The Commission underlines that SCOEL is not a decision-maker. It only provides health-based scientific advice to the Commission, which is then discussed in the tripartite Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH), involving Member States’ experts and social partners. The ACSH gives an opinion taking into account the SCOEL input and feasibility factors. This ACSH opinion and the required impact assessments form the basis of subsequent Commission legislative initiatives.

2. According to the new horizontal rules on expert groups adopted in 2016(1), the Commission carried out a screening of all DoI and performed in-depth assessment. Although no major issues were revealed, the existing mitigating measures are being refined and strengthened, where necessary.

3. The Commission adopted two proposals in 2016 and 2017to amend Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work(2) (CMD), in which it proposed, amongst others, the revision of two existing and the introduction of 17 new occupational exposure limit values in Annex III to the CMD(3). Preparatory work for a third proposal is already ongoing.

(1)C(2016) 3301.
(2)OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 50.
(3)COM(2016)248 and COM(2017)11.

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