Health & Safety

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TUC Asbestos Eradication Campaign

12 July 2015

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has agreed a new long-term policy objective on the eradication of Asbestos in UK buildings and has agreed to produce a 'draft' Asbestos Bill, following which they will seek an MP to take it on and submit it to the UK Parliament.

magnified asbestos fibres

Asbestos Removal Private Members Bill

As with other Public Bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. A minority of Private Members' Bills become law but, by creating publicity around an issue, they may affect legislation indirectly by pressing the government to take action through its own legislative programme.

The TUC and UK Trade Unions will campaign to persuade MPs to take up the TUC 'draft' Asbestos Bill or actively support such a bill sponsored by other MPs. The CWU Health, Safety & Environment Dept will be asking the CWU group to support any Asbestos Eradication Bill.

This process won't happen in a few weeks and will take a number of years to get the legislation adopted and beyond that a practical, workable and funded removal programme agreed and implemented, plus effective enforcement of course - both of which are things that the present Tory government won't see as a priority.

If the bill does eventually become an Act and make it into law, it would mean a long-term plan for the removal of asbestos from UK buildings would need to be drawn up. It would mean better control of asbestos, better registry of its location and eventually the total removal of it. It would essentially affect those not complying with the Asbestos Control Laws who are not surveying buildings as legally required and are not registering asbestos locations in the buildings that they own, lease and manage. If those who manage buildings are not controlling and registering asbestos within their buildings then those who live in, work in or work on the building are being put in danger. The Bill would also be able to put in place sanctions and penalties for those failing to comply.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Occupational Health met 24 June 2015, and agreed that the first paper to be produced under the APPG title this parliament will be based on the TUC proposal for the eradication of asbestos from all buildings. This would include recommendations for:-

  • All Buildings to have an asbestos register by 2022,
  • All public buildings to have asbestos removed by 2028 and
  • All buildings to have it removed by 2035.

This is in effect a 20 year plan.

The Occupational Health APPG Asbestos sub-group meets early in July 2015, and will consider this further. Once more details are available the Unions, including CWU will encourage their affiliated MP's to take an interest in the campaign.