Two separate guidance documents for those working with manufactured nanomaterials have been released by the European Commission. The first, Working Safely with Manufactured Nanomaterials, is aimed specifically at those handling the materials in the workplace; the second, Guidance on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the potential risks related to nanomaterials at work, is for employers.
The Guidance document for employers looks to assist them ‘in fulfilling their regulatory obligations … whenever exposure to MNMs [manufactured nanomaterials] or use of nanotechnology in a professional capacity is known or likely to take place’. It is intended ‘for general use in occupational settings within the EU in which nanotechnology is used’. The document outlines a six step risk assessment and management processes based around case-by-case assessment and the precautionary approach.
The document for workers is a much briefer document, focusing on answering a number of questions. These are:
- ‘What are nanomaterials and nano-enabled products?
- What is the basis for current concerns about manufactured nanomaterials?
- Do I need to treat all manufactured nanomaterials as special cases?
- How can I tell if I am using nanomaterials or nano-enabled products, and how may I be exposed?
- What actions are necessary to enable safe working with manufactured nanomaterials and nano-enabled products?’