Goals and acquired skills The main goal of the course is to provide students with awareness of the legal framework concerning use of chemicals in an working environment. Students will reach an extensive knowledge of the legislation on health and safety on the workplace, with a special emphasis on the risks related to chemicals, so to be able to answer to questions such as: what are the duties on chemicals producers in order to minimize health risks on the employees of firms that do actually use these chemicals in their production ? What are the statutory obligations of every single employer in Europe in order to provide the highest possible safety on the workplace ? How is the legislative framework enforced ? Attention will be drawn especially on the rationale behind the rules and on the general set of principles that lay behind and drive risk assessment and organization of the production, regardless of the specific risk involved (either chemical, of possible cancer and so on), with an aim at delivering a competence in the subject and not only a knowledge of procedures and rules. In addition to this, classes will focus on the mechanics of liability both as monetary compensation arising from accidents and illnesses arising from the use of chemicals on the workplace and on the consequences on the criminal law point of view of such events. These aspects are essential to the aim of having a clear understanding or the law of chemicals in the workplace.
Course content Concerning the health and safety legislation, we will go through specific subjects including the following: the legal basis according to which the European Union provides rules on health and safety at work; the integration of legislation with technical standards at the European and national level (EN and UNI Rules); the definitions and identifications of the individuals and entities involved in health and safety management in the workplace (the employer, the head of the protective and preventive services and its members, the workers' representative, the doctor on the workplace nominated by the employer; the producer of chemical substances): their exclusive duties and their cooperation; the risk assessment principles (exam of the working process, identification of risks and the criteria concerning their grading as more or less important); the design of the working environment focused on eliminating or minimizing risks (according to the "best available technology" standard instead of the "reasonably practicable" standard); specific rules concerning chemicals and its specific additional legislation: in particular the labeling standards and evaluation process of the chemical hazards under the REACH regulation. The actual responsibilities of the employer also depend on the criteria that establish causation in the law. We will see how the degree of probability that is deemed necessary to state that a certain occupational factor has caused a damage is different in the civil and in the criminal setting. We will study what are the relationships between probability in science (epidemiology, chemistry and medicine) and causation in the law, by means of examples drawn from actual relevant cases. We will focus on the principles concerning the standard of good care and due diligence in civil and criminal law, that also have a relevant impact on chemical safety and liabilities.
Reference material Lecture notes; reading of pieces of legislations and essays distributed in class.
Assessment method: Written examination based on questions on specific issues discussed in class. Teaching language: English
Attendance Policy: strongly recommended
Mode of teaching: Lessons including an ongoing open discussion in class.