Asbestos review shows shocking complacency

Asbestos review shows shocking complacency

Article summary taken from:

The HSE has published a review of the way that the 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations have been implemented.

There was a requirement on the HSE to do this within the first five years of the regulations being implemented, but the HSE seems to have gone well beyond the requirements of the European Directive in their review, which is surprising considering how critical the Government has been of what they call “Gold-Plating” of European Requirements.

Overall the review suggests that the regulations are working well and there is little need for change, beyond making one recommendation that they say should be looked at. Currently there are different frequencies for medical examinations for those doing licensable work (every two years) and those doing notifiable work (every three years). The report recommends looking at aligning these.  That would be fine if they were both going to be two years as most employers already align their tests to every two years, but of course the HSE can’t resist the obsession with de-regulation so the proposal is to look at harmonising downwards, so both groups would need examinations every three years.

Reducing the frequency of tests seems totally irresponsible. The review says that the aim of the tests is to “detect disease early and allow removal from further harm” Now that would seem a pretty good reason in itself for making them every two years, but there are other reasons for the test. These are to identify any other conditions that may put them at additional risk, or identifying any problems with their PPE that prevents them wearing it properly. A medical test should also should record any accidental exposure that may have happened. Given the very high risk to these workers should they have any exposure, I hardly think that giving a medical examination every two years is an onerous “burden” on business!

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Filed under: 
Asbestos, HSE