Employers fail to tackle causes of asthma

Every day 20 people develop asthma because employers are
failing to control the causes according to a survey reported in Hazards
magazine.

The survey of nearly a 1,000 union safety reps in workplaces
where asthma-causing substances are used regularly shows that many employers
are not carrying out their legal obligations.

Although legislation states that as a first step employers
should substitute the dangerous substance with one less dangerous, only 8 per
cent of those surveyed do so. However 41 per cent do carry out risk assessments
and 26 per cent provide breathing equipment.

The TUC is calling for a legally binding Approved Code of
Practice to set out in detail what employers must do to prevent asthma.

“No one needs to develop asthma at work, so anyone who does
has cause to be very bitter indeed. People only get one set of lungs, and
employers have shown that guidance and general rules aren’t enough. We need a
specific legal code on asthma to breathe some life back into workers’ lung
safety,” said Owen Tudor, TUC senior policy officer.

Workers most at risk include carpenters and those in
manufacturing, as well as bakers and nurses. Asthma causing substances being
used include glues and resins, wood dust and latex.

By Katie Hawkins

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