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UK asbestos law not up to Euro standard

The UK version of a European Union-wide law on asbestos safety is illegally lax and must be amended, the government has been told last week.

The TUC, which had warned against the dilution of essential safety measures, said the European Commission (EC) ruling nails the myth the UK ‘gold-plates’ Euro laws.

Last week’s ‘reasoned opinion’ from the EC, in response to a complaint about inadequacies in the UK law, gives the government two months to amend the law or face possible action at the EU’s Court of Justice. It says the UK misinterpreted requirements on ‘sporadic and low intensity exposure to asbestos’ to justify the exclusion of considerable amounts of asbestos work from asbestos licensing, health assessments and exposure recording requirements.

The EC announcement, warning of court action if the government fails to act, notes: ‘The UK legislation currently focuses on the measurement of exposure to asbestos and not enough on the how the material will be affected by the work itself, while the directive deals with both exposure and the material.’ 

The problem of UK workers’ exposure to asbestos will be with us for a very long time and we are heartened to note that the EC has expressed its dissatisfaction with the UK’s recent interpretation of the regulations. It is a sorry state of affairs indeed when workers in this country have to rely on external interventions to secure adequate occupational health safety standards.

Bonnar & Company specialises in workplace accidents and illnesses and we would be happy to discuss the circumstances of your claim free of charge and without obligation.

You can contact us on freephone: 0800 163 978  

20,000 people in the UK die early because of work

Simply being at work can be dangerous and it’s driving 20,000 Brits to an early grave every year, according to a study out yesterday.

The study, by the TUC, comes at a time when health & safety legislation in the UK is under close scrutiny from government appointee Lord Young, who has been asked by the PM to investigate the ‘compensation culture’.

The report claims that thousands of workers in the UK die early because of occupational cancers and lung disorders such as mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos. It also states that thousands of people are injured at work but their accidents go unnoticed. The Health & Safety Executive echoes the TUC study and estimates that a staggering 246,000 workplace injuries were unrecorded last year.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “If the level of HSE funding is cut the effects will be catastrophic.”

Firms such as Bonnar & Company see the effects of workplace accidents on a daily basis and we can only wonder at the rationale behind attempts to cut so-called red tape in the workplace. One person’s red tape is another person’s last line of defence against serious injury or death at work.

If you have been hurt or injured in an accident at work or if you have developed an industrial illness, you can call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for no obligation expert legal advice from a personal injury solicitor.