HC Deb 12 January 1978 vol 941 cc821-2W
Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will consider legislation to make it compulsory for all foundry personnel to have regular medical check-ups; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what action he will take to obtain regular monitoring of employees in the foundry industry in order that various diseases may be detected in the early stages; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Grant

I am advised by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that, in the view of his medical advisers, periodic medical examinations are not the most effective means of protecting workers' health. Some of the reasons for this view are to be found in paragraphs 200 and 201 of the Health Departments' recent White Paper on "Prevention and Health" (Cmnd. 7047). As my hon. Friend may have seen from page 22 of "Occupational Health Services: the Way Ahead", published last month by the Health and Safety Commission, the Commission's Medical Advisory Committee is to be asked to review the present range of statutory medical examinations, and no proposals to vary the range will be made before the review is completed.

The provision of a safe working environment is of much greater importance, and employers are required, under Section 2(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, to provide and maintain plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health". Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate pays particular attention to environmental conditions in foundries.