Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling: Tribunale di Genova - Italy.
Social policy - Protection of health and safety of workers - Use of work equipment - Risks related to exposure to carcinogens - Directives 89/655/EEC and 90/394/EEC.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, THE COURT, in answer to the questions referred to it by the Tribunale di Genova by order of 14 December 1996, hereby rules:
1. Article 4 of Council Directive 90/394/EEC of 28 June 1990 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens at work (Sixth individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) must be interpreted to the effect that the employer's obligation to reduce or replace a carcinogen is not contingent on the outcome of the assessment of risks referred to in Article 3 of that directive.
Article 5 of Directive 90/394 must be interpreted to the effect that the employer's obligation to avoid or reduce exposure to a carcinogen is contingent on the outcome of the assessment of risks referred to in Article 3 of that directive.
A national provision which requires the employer to reduce workers' exposure to a carcinogen irrespective of the assessment of risks is not contrary to that directive where it constitutes a more stringent measure for the protection of working conditions authorised by Article 118a(3) of the EC Treaty and Directive 90/394.
2. Article 4 of Council Directive 89/655/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (Second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) does not preclude a Member State from setting a time-limit for adapting existing working equipment that expires before 31 December 1996, provided that the time-limit is not so short that it does not enable employers to effect such adaptation or entail a cost that is clearly excessive as compared with what they would have had to meet if the time-limit had been longer.
Whereas this judgement does not relate to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union it is included in the case law database because it is referred to in FRA’s Charter e-guidance. The latter is an online tool guiding judges and other legal practitioners through the relevant questions concerning the applicability of the Charter