New asbestos campaign welcome but four years late

Construction union UCATT have welcomed a new asbestos awareness campaign launched today (October 9th) but warned that workers have been denied effective advice for over four years due to Government penny pinching.

The new asbestos campaign was launched today by the Health and Safety Executive. Asbestos safety packs will be distributed at TradePoint outlets and an app which can be downloaded onto phones and computers that  informs workers when they are likely to come into contact with asbestos, has been made available.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said; “Construction workers are at the greatest risk of being exposed to asbestos. Any campaign that warns workers of the dangers of asbestos is welcome. The campaign needs to be as wide ranging as possible and should not be confined to one company distributing information.”

When the Conservative-led government was elected in 2010 they blocked all Government communication programmes. This resulted in the cancellation of the Hidden Killer Campaign which had won awards for raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos for construction workers.

Mr Murphy added: “The Conservative led-Government’s penny pinching means that for the last 4 and a half years, thousands of workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos and their health put at risk.”

UCATT are dealing with an increasing number of cases where a lack of training or a lack of information means that workers are needlessly being exposed to asbestos.

Mr Murphy further added: “It is vital that construction workers receive proper training on asbestos, Pressure must be placed on employers to ensure that training takes place and workers are not victimised, threatened or blacklisted when raising concerns about asbestos, which is often the case. Employers who allow workers to be exposed to asbestos must be prosecuted.”

 

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