Legislation related to exposure agents toxic for reproduction was amended – new website to support workplaces

Regulatory changes impose new obligations on employers. The employer must assess employees’ exposure and minimize related health risks. Maintaining a list of exposed employees will also be mandatory.
Piia Taxell
Piia Taxell

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health media release 5 April 2024

Regulatory changes that took effect at the beginning of April further specify legislation regarding chemical exposure agents toxic for reproduction. The Government Decree on the prevention of work-related cancer and reproductive risks (113/2024) expands the scope of the detailed obligations related to exposure and the reduction of risks that used to apply to carcinogenic exposure agents to also concern reprotoxic exposure agents.

“In the future, exposure agents toxic for reproduction must be taken into consideration at the workplace in the same way as carcinogenic exposure agents. This applies extensively to different industrial sectors, such as the metal and chemical industry, construction, mining, maintenance and repair work in various sectors and the social welfare and health care sector when it comes to medicine,” says Piia Taxell from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

The same legislative amendment also changes the Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL values) of several reprotoxic exposure agents into binding limit values. This change applies, among others, to carbon monoxide, dimethylformamide, N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone, bisphenol A and mercury. Employees’ exposure during the working day may not exceed the binding limit values.

In the future, the employer must also maintain a list of employees who are exposed in their work to substances toxic for reproduction (Act 452/2020: 117/2024). The obligation regarding maintaining a list concerns substances that meet the classification criteria Repr. 1A and Repr. 1B (hazard statement H360, H360D, H360F, H360FD, H360Fd or H360Df). The list is compiled once per calendar year and it is kept at the workplace for five years.

The new act on protecting pregnancy (143/2024) that entered into force at the same time emphasizes the employer’s obligation to identify and assess in advance the risks that work poses on pregnancy and breastfeeding and to inform employees on the results of the assessment. In work that is estimated to pose a risk to pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is important that the employee informs the employer of their state as soon as possible in order to allow adapting the work to make it safer.

“Occupational health care is the most important partner for the workplace in questions related to reproductive health,” says Piia Taxell.

A new website to support workplaces

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has created a new website that provides an information package about chemical exposure agents toxic for reproduction and a summary of the employer’s obligations and the role of occupational health care. 

The website details what type of obligations the employer has related to:  

  • the identification and assessment of risks,
  • informing employees,
  • reduction of exposure and risks,
  • maintaining a list of exposed employees and 
  • ensuring the safety of pregnant and breastfeeding employees.

The website also features an advisory list of substances that are toxic for reproduction. The employer is obliged to maintain a list of employees that are exposed to the substances. The website also provides a downloadable template to help employers in designing the list.

Learn more 

For more information, please contact

  • Piia Taxell, Senior Specialist piia.taxell [at] ttl.fi, +35843 825 8285

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