Working safely with carcinogenic and mutagenic agents: the 2024 guide from Inail


Emma Potter

The definition of carcinogen and mutagen

Carcinogens and mutagens are substances that can cause serious illnesses following exposure. The Inail document highlights the importance of recognizing and adequately managing these risks, emphasizing the shared responsibility between employers and workers in ensuring a safe working environment.

L'carcinogenic agentaccording to theart. 234 of Legislative Decree 81/2008 and subsequent amendmentsis defined as:

  • substance or mixture that meets the criteria for classification as a category 1A or 1B carcinogenic substance referred to inannex I of the regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
  • a substance, mixture or process mentioned inAnnex XLII of this decree, as well as a substance or mixture released during a process envisaged by theattached XLII;

L'mutagenic agentaccording to theart. 234 of Legislative Decree 81/2008 and subsequent amendmentsis defined as:

  • substance or mixture corresponding to the criteria for classification as germ cell mutagen category 1A or 1B set out in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008.

The regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008 (CLP – Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Chemicals) and subsequent amendments replaced, from 1 June 2015the previous classification criteria.

The heart of the publication is dedicated to preventive and protective measures, from the replacement of dangerous agents to the adoption of safe operating procedures. They are also detailed specific approachessuch as the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ventilation systems, essential to minimize exposure and protect workers' health.

The sheets of the main carcinogenic and mutagenic substances

Chapter 4 collects some information sheets on substances or groups of potentially carcinogenic or mutagenic substances, used in various working environments, providing essential support for employers, RSPP and workers for the protection of health.

These cards contain identification data (chemical name, CAS, synonyms), the classification according to the CLP Regulation and, if available, according to other international bodies. Furthermore, they indicate the more susceptible organs or systems to the neoplastic effects due to exposure, the main work activities at risk of exposure, whether the substances are used as raw materials, intermediates, or by-products, and any specific regulations that apply.

The cards offer details on safety procedures to be adoptedas reported in chapter 5, et seq Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommended to protect yourself from exposure to these substances.

To find out more, we recommend consulting the INAIL website.