HSE asbestos campaign is resurrected
The Health and Safety Executive's award-winning 'Hidden Killer' asbestos campaign is to recommence, after being put on hold for over a year on government instruction. The campaign, which was launched by the HSE in 2008 and which is due to restart in 2012, warned construction workers, particularly those involved in maintenance and refurbishment work, of the dangers of asbestos. A phase of the campaign due to start in October 2010 was abandoned when the government introduced a blanket freeze on government-funded campaigns. Construction union UCATT says in January this year it became aware of HSE documents that admitted 'there is no intention to run the Hidden Killer campaign again,' prompting a concerted lobbying campaign to get the campaign reinstated (Risks 492). At HSE's Board meeting earlier this month it was announced HSE has been given government clearance to recommence the campaign. A new phase will be launched in 2012. Labour MP Natascha Engel, who raised the cancellation of the campaign in parliament, commented: 'It is good news that the Hidden Killer campaign is being reinstated, it should never have been frozen in the first place. Far too many people every year die from asbestos diseases, the vast majority of these deaths could easily have been prevented.' George Guy, acting general secretary of construction union UCATT, said: 'It is vital that despite the HSE's financial constraints this is a fully funded information campaign which reaches its target audience.' The campaign previously had a seven figure budget.
Issued: 16 December, 2011