SNP President, Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed the "common sense" approach taken by the European Parliament today, Tuesday 14 February, on protecting workers' from optical radiation.

The Ory Report, at first reading stage, had met with derision across the EU when it appeared that employers would have been liable for workers' exposure to normal sunlight. Last September MEPs voted to limit the scope of the Directive to damage from artificial sources only.

Summing up his feelings after the vote, Mr Hudghton said:

"I voted in favour of the conciliation outcome, limiting the title and scope of the Directive to cover optical radiations from artificial sources only. It's in everyone's interests to maximise the protection for EU workers and I am always a strong supporter for improvements to health and safety in the work place.

"However, mismanagement of this issue succeeded in bringing howls of derision against the EU, with the press being able to depict us as trying to ban sunshine. What a public relations gift to the euro sceptics! If there's one thing the EU doesn't need it is nonsensical and unworkable proposals which give the euro sceptics a field day. A bit of forethought and this unnecessary row could have been avoided.

"However all's well that ends well and I welcome the Conciliation Committee's acceptance of Parliament's common sense decision. Now we have a Directive which legitimately seeks to protect workers who work with lasers and electrical welding equipment, those in the steel and glass industries and those working in artificial tanning businesses. The accepted guidelines are designed to prevent the acute and long term effects to the eyes and to the skin that can occur at high levels of exposure - a good thing for workers across the EU."

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