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Asbestos hearing
European Parliament 18 September 2012
Dr. Christa Sedlatschek
Safety and health at work is everyone’s concern. It’s good for you. It’s good for business.
Health issues
Most common diseases caused by asbestos exposure are:
 Malignant Mesothelioma: A rare form of cancer of the pleura and
peritoneum, the thin membranes lining the abdomen and chest.
 Asbestos Lung Cancer: Cancer of the lung. The two most common
types of lung cancer are small–cell and non–small cell cancer.
 Asbestosis: A non malignant disease that causes scarring of the lung
 Asbestos Pleural Disease: A non malignant disease that causes
scarring of the thin membranes lining the lung and chest.
 Other possible: cancer of the digestive tract, colon, larynx,
oesophagus, kidney and some types of lymphoma, due to
swallowing longer asbestos fibers that are caught in the upper
 Recently discovered: link to cardiovascular diseases in asbestos
workers, women more likely than men to be affected (HSL 2012)
Groups potentially exposed
Construction workers
Shipbuilding and repair
Trains/ repair work
Welders, sheet metal workers, boilermakers, smiths
Rubber, paper, paints and varnishes
Electricians, mechanics
Nuclear installations
Retailers of asbestos articles
Laboratory workers
Service workers: ironer, surface cleaning
Repair and maintenance (e.g. household appliances)
Jewellers, goldsmiths
Brewers, cider workers
Emergency workers
EU-OSHA activities
 Participation in Dresden declaration 2003
 Asbestos an issue in EU-OSHA campaigns:
• 2004 Construction campaign
Facts 31 – Asbestos in construction in 20 languages
• 2010-11 Maintenance campaign
E-fact 48: Safe maintenance – asbestos in building
− EFBWW and EBC campaign partners
 EU-OSHA supported the SLIC campaign, see
EU Senior Labour Inspector s Committee´s campaign 2006
 Problems with:
- identifying asbestos (Is it asbestos or not? Which type of asbestos?);
- drawing up an inventory of asbestos-containing material (location, amount, state);
- accidental exposure in refurbishment and maintenance work;
- risk assessment and appropriateness of working methods;
- removal and disposal of asbestos cement, especially from private buildings;
- waste disposal and OSH;
- licensing and certification of companies in removal and disposal of asbestos;
- information for the general public and training of inspectors, employers and
Campaign concentrated on three fields of demolition, maintenance and repair
asbestos work:
- DMR work with weakly bound asbestos;
- DMR work with asbestos-cement products;
- Waste disposal.
EU Senior Labour Inspector s Committee´s campaign 2006
 In many countries asbestos work related to ‘sporadic exposure at low intensity’
 Trend to smaller-scale work with asbestos containing material, often done by
small and micro businesses
 Workers at risk are mainly in maintenance.
 Overlooked: railway trains, recycling of (roof) tiles, transport containers
 Removal of weakly bound asbestos products more strictly regulated, detailed
technical provisions described in each country's regulations.
New forms of communication and training recommended
More information and easy-to-understand (graphic, pictorial) information
Weak points:
 Work plan, instruction on site: partly or not at all
 Training certificates
 Coordinator, expert, responsible for monitoring on site
 Securing of waste and transport, landfill certificates
 Waste disposal scored worst on risk assessment, dust-free equipment,
documentation, training and monitoring
Read the report:
Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2012-13
“Working together for risk prevention”
Further information
• Visit the campaign website
• To find out about events and activities in your country, contact
your national focal point