§ Mr. Meadowcroft
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied that the existing establishment and expertise of the factory inspectorate is capable of maintaiing adequate safeguards on the use of asbestos; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Gummer
Yes. We have been informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that at 30 June 1983 there were 556 inspectors in the factory inspectorate's area-based field organisation, engaged in the enforcement of health and safety controls. This includes control of asbestos, to which high priority is given.
Inspectors receive training on how to deal with risks to health including the risks from asbestos. They are supported in their work by occupational hygienists arid by the HSE's occupational hygiene laboratory. In addition, technical advice on standards and precautions related to asbestos is available to the field force from the inspectorate's headquarters consultant section specialising in fibrous dusts and advice on medical aspects is available from the HSE's employment medical advisers, who are doctors specialising in occupational health.
These arrangements enable the factory inspectorate to maintain the necessary safeguards.