HC Deb 28 October 1987 vol 121 cc335-6W
Dr. Moonie

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if in the light of the recent court decision in favour of Mr. Alex Falconer, MEP, he will now seek to identify all those who have been exposed to excessive levels of asbestos at Rosyth dockyard; he will provide proper screening for lung damage for those concerned; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury

Employees at Rosyth dockyard who may have been exposed to asbestos fall into two categories; those whose work requires them to operate in an environment where they may be exposed to high levels of asbestos dust and those who may have been accidentally exposed to low levels of dust. The former, classified as registered asbestos workers, are provided with personal protective equipment and are subject to special health surveillance procedures laid down by the Health and Safety Executive. Every effort is made to ensure that safe working practices eliminate the possibility of accidental exposure but individuals who believe that they may have been exposed in this way are able to request that their personal records be annotated to that effect. These methods of identification continue to be available following the transfer of the dockyard to commercial management in April 1987.

With regard to health screening, existing health checks for registered asbestos workers include regular chest X-rays. In addition, my Department made available in November 1986, and again in early 1987, facilities at Rosyth for full plate X-rays for any MOD employee who was about to transfer to Babcock Thorn and who, not being a registered asbestos worker, had not had access to this level of scrutiny for some time.