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The European Commission has requested Italy and the United Kingdom to fulfil their obligations under EU law by implementing fully into national law a 2009 Directive on protecting workers from hazardous chemicals.
The Directive sets indicative limits for 19 chemicals to which workers can be exposed in the course of their work and complements the indicative limits for potentially hazardous chemicals set by previous Directives.
The request to the UK concerns only the maritime sector, since national provisions have already been adopted for all other sectors.
The deadline for Member States to implement the Directive was 18 December 2011. Failure to implement the Directive in full may result in workers not being protected from exposure to the hazardous chemical substances in question.
The Commission's requests take the form of 'reasoned opinions' under EU infringement procedures. Italy and the UK now have two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to bring their legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer the two Member States to the EU's Court of Justice.