S.I. No. 445/1994 - Safety, Health and Welfare At Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations, 1994.

S.I. No. 445 of 1994.



1. Short Title and Commencement.

2. Interpretation.

3. Duties of Employer.

4. Information, Training and Consultation.

S.I. No. 445 of 1994.


I, RICHARD BRUTON, Minister for Enterprise and Employment, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 28 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 , (No. 7 of 1989) and in relation to the matters set out in paragraphs 1 to 7, 9 to 17, 20 to 22, 25 to 27, 28(a), 28(c), 29, 30, 32(b) and 33 of the Fourth Schedule of that Act, and by the Labour (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1993 ( S.I. No. 18 of 1993 ), and after consultation with the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health, hereby make the following regulations:—

1 Short title and Commencement.

(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 1994.

(2) These Regulations shall come into operation on the 25th day of January, 1995.

2 Interpretation.

(1) In these Regulations:—

"the Act" means the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 (No. 7 of 1989);

"chemical agent" means any chemical substance present at work and likely to be hazardous to health;

"employer" means, for the purposes of these Regulations, any employer of employees who are exposed to or at risk of being exposed to a chemical agent as a result of work;

"occupational exposure limit" means the maximum permissible concentration of a chemical agent in the air at the workplace to which workers may be exposed in relation to an 8-hour or a 15-minute reference period as set out in a relevant code of practice;

"relevant code of practice" means a code of practice issued or approved of by the Authority in accordance with Section 30 of the Act relating to these Regulations;

"responsible medical practitioner" means the registered medical practitioner employed, or otherwise engaged, by an employer to be responsible for health surveillance of employees covered by these Regulations;

"the Principal Regulations" means the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 1993 ( S.I. No. 44 of 1993 ).

(2) In these Regulations a reference to a paragraph is to a paragraph in the Regulation in which the reference occurs, unless it is indicated that reference to some other Regulation is intended, and a reference to a Regulation is to a Regulation of these Regulations, unless it is indicated that reference to some other Regulation is intended.

(3) The provisions of Regulations 2 and 4 and of Part II of the Principal Regulations shall apply to the application of the provisions of these Regulations.

3 Duties of Employer.

It shall be the duty of every employer:—

(1) to ensure that the exposure of his employees to chemical agents at work is prevented or, where exposure cannot be avoided, adequately controlled, by:

( a ) replacement of a chemical agent which can cause injury to health by one which is less hazardous;

( b ) limitation of the use of the agent at the place of work;

( c ) limitation of the number of employees exposed or likely to be exposed;

( d ) use of engineering controls;

( e ) protective measures involving the application of suitable working procedures and methods;

( f ) collective protective measures;

( g ) individual protective measures, where exposure cannot be reasonably avoided by other means;

( h ) hygiene measures;

( i ) use of warning and safety signs;

( j ) if necessary, a general or limited ban on the chemical agent in cases where use of the other means available does not make it possible to ensure adequate protection;

(2) where there is exposure of employees to a chemical agent at work, to determine and, where appropriate, measure the nature and degree of such exposure, in order to assess the risks to health related to such exposure;

(3) to identify the measures to be taken to control such risk, taking account of the nature of the agent, the extent and duration of the exposure, the gravity of the risk and the available knowledge concerning the risk, together with the degree of urgency of the measures to be adopted;

(4) to renew the assessment of risk required by paragraph (2) forthwith when there is reason to believe that the assessment is no longer valid or when there is a significant change in the use of the chemical agent, or both;

(5) where measurement of exposure to a chemical agent is necessary as a consequence of an exposure of employees likely to cause injury to health, to use appropriate sampling and measuring procedures and procedures for evaluation of results, and to maintain records of such measurements, the names of employees exposed and related information;

(6) to ensure that an occupational exposure limit set out in a relevant code of practice shall not be exceeded when measured or calculated in relation to a reference period listed in a relevant code of practice;

(7) to establish without delay, when the results of measurements reveal that an occupational exposure limit is exceeded, the reasons for the limit being exceeded and to implement as soon as possible appropriate measures to remedy the situation, taking account of the measures detailed in paragraph (1);

(8) to make provision for relevant health surveillance in accordance with Regulation 15 of the Principal Regulations, under the responsibility of a responsible medical practitioner where appropriate, for those employees for whom the results of the risk assessment required by paragraph (2) reveal a risk to their health;

(9) without prejudice to Regulation 9 of the Principal Regulations, to take emergency measures as appropriate in cases of abnormal exposure.

4 Information, Training and Consultation.

Without prejudice to the provisions of Regulations 11 to 13 of the Principal Regulations, it shall be the duty of every employer to:

(1) provide information to his employees regarding:

( a ) the potential risks associated with exposure to chemical agents, the technical preventive measures in place to prevent exposure to such agents, and the precautions taken by the employer and to be observed by the employees;

( b ) the results of the risk assessment, the existence of an occupational exposure limit and the measurements which may be carried out to establish the exposure levels at the place of work;

( c ) the action to be taken in the event of an occupational exposure limit being exceeded, as referred to in Regulation 3 (7), and in the event of abnormal exposure, as referred to in Regulation 3 (9);

(2) provide information in accordance with paragraph (1) to any employer of other employees or to any self employed person who may be affected by exposure to a chemical agent arising from the conduct of his undertaking;

(3) provide training regarding the matters referred to in paragraphs (1) (a), (b) and (c), in the interpretation of safety data sheets, in hygiene requirements and in the use of personal protective equipment, such training to be renewed on a regular basis;

(4) consult with his employees or their safety representative, or both, regarding the application of these Regulations at a place of work:

GIVEN under my Official Seal this 20th day of December, 1994.


Minister for Enterprise and



These Regulations implement Council Directive 88/642/EEC and Commission Directive 91/322/EEC on the protection of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work. The Regulations define a chemical agent and outline the duties of employers in relation to the prevention and limitation of exposure of employees to chemical agents in the workplace. There are also requirements in relation to the information, training and consultation.