NEPSI is the acronym for the resulting European Network for Silica formed by the Employee and Employer European sectoral associationshaving signed the Social Dialogue "Agreement on Workers' Health Protection Through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silicasand Products Containing it" on 25 April 2006, representing 15 industry sectors i.e. more than 2 million employees and a business exceeding € 250 billion.
Crystalline silica (SiO2) is an essential component of materials which have an abundance of uses in industry and are vital in many products and objects we use everyday: it is impossible to imagine houses without bricks, mortar or windows, cars without engines or windscreens, life without roads or other transport infrastructures and everyday items made of glass or pottery.
Although crystalline silica is ubiquitous in nature, the inhalation of fine dust containing a proportion of it may constitute a hazard that is limited to the workplace. Considering that such an exposure can be controlled, the main industries concerned by possible exposures to respirable crystalline silica agreed on appropriate and credible measures for the improvement of working conditions.
The 17 initial signatory organisations represent the aggregates, cement, ceramics, foundry, glass fibre, special glass, container glass, flat glass, industrial minerals, mineral wool, natural stones, mining, mortar and pre-cast concrete sectors. The Agreement has recently welcomed the expanded clay sector and represents to date 18 European industry sectors. It remains open for further signatures.