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Rubber Industry

Volume 981: debated on Friday 28 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take regarding the report recently published by the Health and Safety Executive about the risks being run by workers in the rubber industry.

The report referred to, which is entitled "Mortality in the British Rubber Industries 1967–76", itself states the action which the Health and Safety Executive and the industry is taking.The rubber industry, with its earlier history of using antioxidants which were subsequently proved to be carcinogenic, has been the subject of considerable scrutiny by Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate—HMFI. With the establishment of the Health and Safety Executive and the reorganisation of HMFI, a national industry group—NIG—for the rubber and cable-making industry was established. This NIG has developed a rolling five-year programme of action, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Advisory Committee of the British Rubber Manufacturers' Association and the trade unions, to achieve improvements in hygiene control in the industry.Within this programme a major effort is to be devoted to fundamental matters, such as the application of sound engineering methods for the control by ventilation of dust and fume from certain processes, as well as general cleanliness and good housekeeping. A survey of dust and fume control has been carried out by HMFI in the manufacturing sections of a selected group of factories, so as to provide reliable data on worker exposure and to show ways of reducing such exposure to the lowest reasonably practicable level.