EU-Israel Workshop on Issues Associated with Silica and Artificial Stone
On 28 January 2015, EU-OSHA hosted a workshop on silica and artificial stone in Bilbao bringing together experts from the EU and Israel. The workshop was supported by the European Commission through its continued support of EU-OSHA’s engagement with the European Neighbourhood Policy countries.
The risks associated with the use of silica have long been known, with a number of activities undertaken at national and international level to combat these risks. The Senior Labour Inspection Committee recently decided to focus on respirable crystalline silica in its long latency diseases project in order to identify a collaborative approach to dealing with silica and to provide information and guidelines for inspectors across the EU. Prior to this, a social partner agreement was reached on “workers' health protection through the good handling and use of crystalline silica and products containing it”.
Despite the ongoing efforts to tackle risks associated with silica, recent research from Israel and Italy has indicated an emerging issue with the use of artificial stone, which generally has a much higher silica content than natural stone. The long latency period of health issues associated with silica presents a significant challenge for the identification and elimination of risks and the opportunity to exchange information about emerging concerns is invaluable.
The workshop included participants from the European Commission (DG EMPL), the UK, Italy, Spain, Israel, the ILO, the WHO and social partners. We would like to thank all the participants for ensuring the workshop was a success and we look further to working together again in the future.