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ACTION PLEDGED TO IMPROVE HEALTH & SAFETY STANDARDS

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Improving health and safety standards at work are a top priority ...
Improving health and safety standards at work are a top priority

confirmed environment minister Angela Eagle.

In a speech to the Engineering Employers Federation Ms Eagle said:

'I want to secure a higher profile for health and safety. I know the

UKs record is good but there is no room for complacency. Improving

health and safety standards is a government priority, particularly

on health issues at work.

Good health and safety standards are good for business, not the

reverse. Employers should think again about lowering standards to

give them a competitive edge. This is unacceptable.

I will be looking at ways of taking tougher action on employers who

breach health and safety standards. With the help of the Health and

Safety Commission and Executive (HSC/E), I am looking to get the

courts to impose higher penalties for breaches of health and safety

law. The average fine of little over£2,000 by magistrates for a

health and safety offence is pitifully low when human life is put at

risk'.

Ms Eagle added:

'3,500 people die annually from asbestos related disease and that

figure is expected to grow to 10,000 per year in the future. The

government simply cannot let this go on. Blue and brown asbestos have

already been banned as the most dangerous kinds. But Crysolite (white

asbestos) is still available. We intend to ban its importation,

supply and use and have looked already to the HSC/E on how this can

be achieved. I hope we can do so in the context of a Europe wide

prohibition: we are pressing the European Commission on this'.

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