Latest update: 02/06/2022

Action Guide for compliance with the occupational exposure limit of formaldehyde in the woodworking industries

This European social partner agreement, signed by the EU social partners of the wood-based panels industries in 2018 and updated in 2020, is intended to support businesses to comply with the occupational exposure limit of formaldehyde.

The social partners from the wood-based panels industries, the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) and the European Panel Federation (EPF), signed the social partner agreement in 2018. By doing so, they anticipated on the coming into force of the binding occupational exposure limit value (OELV) for formaldehyde. The new OELV was part of directive 2019/983/EU which amended directive 2004/37/EC on carcinogens or mutagens at work (in 2022 renamed carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxic substances at work). Member states had to comply with the amendments, and with the new OELV for formaldehyde, by 11th July 2021.

The social partner agreement outlines actions that companies manufacturing wood-based panels, can take to reduce exposure to formaldehyde and which should be implemented through social dialogue in the workplace and in cooperation with workers. The actions include a risk assessment process, prevention measures and reporting procedures. A key element within the risk assessment process is to monitor exposure to formaldehyde by carrying out workplace quantitative assessments (measurements). Prevention measures should be based on the hierarchy of control principle: substitution, followed by technical, organisational and personal protective measures.

Publication details
Published by: The social partners from the wood-based panels industries EFBWW and EPF
Publication date: November 2018, updated in May 2020
Number of pages: 16 pp.

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