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December 16, 2017

EPMU calls for tighter rules on asbestos

Christchurch rebuild workers and their families should not be put at risk of serious illness due to exposure to asbestos, says EPMU Construction, the union for construction workers.

The union welcomes charges brought by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment against Canterbury District Health Board and Exterior Building Care Goleman Limited under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

It is alleged they allowed workers to be exposed to asbestos at Christchurch Hospital.

But more needs to be done to ensure people are healthy and safe at work.

“Asbestos is a significant hazard, and no one should be exposed to it without proper training and precautions,” says Ron Angel, EPMU Construction industry organiser. “Yet we see cases like this where employers just don’t take it seriously.

“One group which is particularly at risk is Pasifika and Filipino migrant workers, who we’re asking to come here and help us but may send home with chronic illnesses which could be avoided. That’s not right.

“The government can do more to make sure workers and their families aren’t put at risk as we rebuild Christchurch. We want politicians and employers to treat every home and workplace like their own.”

EPMU Construction is calling on the government to:

– create a register of sites in Christchurch where asbestos has been identified

– ban the importation of asbestos-containing products

– create a national plan to eliminate asbestos from the built environment by 2030.

The two companies who have been charged are expected to appear in court next year.

See original article – 

EPMU calls for tighter rules on asbestos

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