Asthma costs industry billions, claims TUC

The TUC says employers are paying out billions in lost staff, lower
productivity and high compensation payouts because they are still using asthma-causing
substances in the workplace, despite the availability of safer alternatives.

Over the economy as a whole, asthma could be costing £3 billion over the
next decade, the TUC says.

As an example, it claims that the NHS is wasting tens of millions of pounds
to replace skilled nurses and other staff, and compensating the victims because
of continued use of a disinfectant called glutaraldehyde, and particular types
of latex gloves.

The TUC, with the support of the Health and Safety Executive, has conducted
a survey of almost a thousand workplace union safety reps. It found that only that
only 8 per cent of employers are replacing asthma-causing substances with safer
alternatives.

The findings of the report are due to presented today to the first meeting
of an HSE Project Board set up to oversee a programme of action designed to
reduce rates of occupational asthma ahead of the introduction of a
legally-binding code of practice on asthma in the summer.

According to the TUC there are over 150,000 people in Great Britain with
occupational asthma.

www.tuc.org.uk

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