§ Mr. Andrew Welsh
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information his Department has on the incidence of respiratory disease among the agricultural work force; and what steps he is taking to promote improvement in this situation.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I have been asked to reply.
Nineteen cases of occupational respiratory disease occurring in agricultural workers in England and Wales were reported to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1985, in the two years 1986–87 and 1987–88, the two years for which information is available. However, data collected under these regulations is regarded as an incomplete measure of the true incidence of occupational disease. The Executive's employment 392W medical advisory service is about to begin a publicity campaign, lasting 12 months, on occupational lung disease with the objective of increasing the awareness of employers, employees and the medical community to this group of diseases. Also, the Executive is currently supporting a project on the surveillance of occupational lung disease from reports of consultant chest physicians and occupational physicians.