HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK: COMPROMISE ON SOLAR RADIATION MEASURE NARROWLY APPROVED BY MEPS.

 
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"This is a victory for common sense - it is no business of the EU to decide whether workers can wear shorts and be bare-chested", UK Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne, who was shadow rapporteur for the report, said in a statement. "A perfectly reasonable Directive to protect workers from artificial radiation could have been ruined by the ludicrous proposal to legislate on the sun", she added. "All people should be made aware of the dangers of the sun, but to tell employers to do this is taking the nanny-knows-best mentality too far."

According to the Council's original common position, employers would have been obliged not only to assess risks to the health and safety of their employees due to natural rays but also to set up an 'action plan' in case the assessment indicated a risk. These would have comprised technical and organisational measures deemed beyond the scope of most businesses to undertake. "EU level regulations requiring scientific risk assessments and detailed action plans would have been completely impractical and unworkable for the vast majority of affected small businesses and could have opened up a can of worms with regard to legal liability", Hans-Werner Muller, the secretary general of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME), said in a statement. "Thankfully, common sense has prevailed and the Parliament has amended a proposal which could have damaged the credibility of the EU". Although there is clearly a risk from over-exposure to the sun, notably for outdoor workers in fields such as construction and catering, "this risk varies dramatically across Europe", he said, suggesting that "the provision of adequate information both to employees and the general public at national level" would be a better approach.

Along the same lines, Mrs Lynne, as well as German centre-right MEPs Anja Weisgerber and Thomas Mann, would have preferred to see the sunlight provision taken out of the Directive altogether. Mrs Weisgerber and Mr Mann had introduced amendments to this effect ahead of an earlier committee vote on the Ory report that was scheduled for June 15, but was postponed amid debate over the sunlight provision. Mr Ory, for his part, had been keen to see the report adopted as it was, but was convinced in particular by Mrs Weisgerber and Mrs Lynne to accept two amendments allowing member states to take the matter into their own hands, according to Mrs Lynne. "It was very much Anja and I who...

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