25 July 2003
Inquiry Recognises Need for Worker Involvement in Health and Safety
The Council of Trade Unions is pleased the findings of a Government inquiry released today recognises the suffering of workers who’ve been exposed to dangerous chemicals, and provides some practical solutions.
The Ministerial Inquiry into the Management of Certain Hazardous Substances in the Workplace found that greater emphasis needed to be placed on the preventative aspects of the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
“This backs up the CTU experience that greater worker participation in hazard management will result in much less exposure to toxic chemicals,” CTU health and safety advisor Greg Lloyd said today.
“Workers have been aware of the problem for many years, and employers have been slow to acknowledge the connection between ill health and disease and exposure to hazardous substances.”
Greg Lloyd said the CTU generally supported the inquiry’s recommendations, including that OSH be more proactive in providing guidance and information on managing dangerous chemicals, as well as reviewing its enforcement policy.
He supported the views expressed in the report concerning ACC’s failure to recognise certain illnesses caused by exposure to chemicals.
“If a worker displays symptoms associated with chemicals used at the workplace, there should be an automatic assumption that the condition has occurred as a result of the workplace environment, and appropriate support and compensation be provided,” Greg Lloyd said.