NEPSI

IMA-Europe is a signatory of the European Social Dialogue “Agreement on Workers’ Health Protection Through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing it” signed on 25 April 2006.

IMA-Europe is in charge of the Secretariat of NEPSi, the European Network for Silica formed by the signatories of the Agreement.

Although crystalline silica is ubiquitous in nature, the inhalation of fine dust containing a proportion of it may constitute a hazard on the workplace.

Considering that such an exposure can be controlled, the main industries concerned by possible exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) agreed on appropriate and credible prevention measures and signed the Social Dialogue "Agreement on Workers' Health Protection Through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silicasand Products Containing it" on 25 April 2006 in the presence of
Commissioner Spidla.

The Agreement aims at:

  • Protecting the health of employees occupationally exposed to RCS at the workplace,
  • Minimising such exposure by applying Good Practices and,
  • Increasing the knowledge about potential health effects RCS as well as about Good Practices.

Every two years, the signatories report on the application of the Agreement provisions in their sector. NEPSi is the acronym for the European Network for Silica formed by the 18 Employee and Employer European sectoral associations having signed the Agreement. The signatories represent 15 industry sectors: aggregates, cement, ceramics, expanded clay, foundry, glass fibre, special glass, container glass, flat glass, industrial minerals, mineral wool, natural stones, mining, mortar and pre-cast concrete.

This
agreement is often qualified as innovative: indeed, where European social dialogue agreements are usually sectoral or cross-industrial, this multi-sectoral agreement supported by a strict reporting procedure on its application is the first of its kind. The Agreement remains open for further signatures.