by Tim Lezard UCATT has welcomed a new asbestos awareness campaign but warned that workers have been denied effective advice for over four years due to government penny-pinching. The campaign, launched yesterday by the Health and Safety Executive, will …

asbestosby Tim Lezard

UCATT has welcomed a new asbestos awareness campaign but warned that workers have been denied effective advice for over four years due to government penny-pinching.

The campaign, launched yesterday by the Health and Safety Executive, will see asbestos safety packs be distributed at TradePoint outlets and an app made available that can be downloaded onto phones and computers to inform workers when they are likely to come into contact with asbestos.

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy 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.

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

UCATT is 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.

Steve Murphy said: “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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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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