Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Frightening new statistics on asbestos

I recently attended a ‘Working Well Together’ event in the West of England at which the theme was of course Health and Safety, but with special emphasis on Manual Handling and Dust Collection in the workplace. Particular attention during the event was paid to two thorny subjects, Face Fit Testing and Asbestos Awareness.

The event was extremely well attended with excellent speakers passing on a wealth of knowledge to the assembled gathering. Despite working with HSE on a variety of subjects on behalf of HTA members, I was astonished at how much new information was provided by speakers during the day.

There will be a number of bulletins sent out in the coming weeks to HTA members on subjects closely related to those covered during the event, and at least two items will be added to the provisional list of topics for the next Members’ Higher Rate Newsletter.

In the meantime, it is essential for HTA members to arrange for any members of their staff who use, test or are associated with dust generating machinery or with handling or using chemicals of any sort, to be Face Fit tested. I know that HTA has mentioned this subject on at least two occasions in its bulletins or newsletters, but the importance of this cannot be over emphasized. HTA members must take action now, before it is too late. HSE is emphasizing that enforcement action will be taken by its inspectors.

One statistic announced at the event was that the number of people dying each year from the effects of Silica and especially Asbestos is actually rising (4,000 per year from Asbestos related illnesses alone) – so bearing this in mind, please do not leave it too late! Get your staff tested now and in addition talk to your customers about protecting their staff.

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