EU asbestos directive to protect workers

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EU asbestos directive to protect workers

24th February 2011

An industrial diseases expert has welcomed the European Commission's call for the UK to amend existing legislation to ensure workers are better protected from asbestos.

Bridget Collier, Head of the Industrial Diseases team at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: "Asbestos kills thousands of people in the UK each year. Any move to ensure better safety procedures for those exposed to the dangers of this deadly material, should be wholly embraced."

The European Commission has requested changes in UK legislation after it was discovered the law failed to comply with three obligations set out in the European Union's asbestos directive designed to protect workers involved even in sporadic and low-intensity asbestos exposure such as work involving maintenance and repairs.

The three obligations refer to notifying asbestos building work to the relevant national authority; ensuring workers complete a prior health assessment to be repeated every three years for as long as exposure continues; and keeping a register of workers known to have been exposed to asbestos at work.

"Asbestos remains the country's most prevalent workplace killer claiming nearly 40 lives to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung-related cancers in the UK every week," said Bridget, a partner with the firm.

"It is crucial that the government addresses this issue and brings the UK in line with European law," she added. "Any precautionary measures designed to ensure firms involved with asbestos are obliged by law to protect, educate and monitor their employees with the effect of saving lives each year can only ever be welcomed."

The UK now has two months to bring its legislation in line with EU law before the Commission may decide to refer the UK to the EU's Court of Justice to ensure action regarding compliance is taken.

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - Asbestos News