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Volume 949: debated on Tuesday 2 May 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the objections made by the Health and Safety Executive to a film entitled "Build Safety With Asbestos"; what account of those objections was taken by the makers of the film; what aspects of the film remain in conflict with views held by the Health and Safety Executive in relation to asbestos; what action he is taking in this matter; and what powers are available to him.

I am informed that representatives of the Health and Safety Executive were not invited to comment on the film "Build Safely with Asbestos" until a late stage in the production when the makers claimed that change in the actual film was impracticable and that alteration in the sound track could be of only a limited nature.I understand that the film was planned prior to the publication by the Advisory Committee on Asbestos early in 1977 of its Interim Statement and certainly takes no account of its recommendations that exposure to all forms of asbestos dust should be reduced to the minimum reasonably practicable.The HSE considered and advised the makers that the film constantly underplayed the proven risk to health from asbestos dust and gave little clear advice on what action should be taken in situations where asbestos dust was released into the atmosphere. Additionally, no positive advice was given about either protective clothing or respiratory protective equipment and the film sequences showed workers, without protection, engaged in operations involving asbestos.As a result of objections raised by the Health and Safety Executive, the film makers made certain marginal alterations to the script but these did not produce any marked improvement in the film. The Health and Safety Executive therefore did not sponsor the film and hence, quite rightly, it was not accepted by the Central Film Library.The film was produced by a private company and I have no powers to require any modifications or to prohibit its showing at any private or public performances.