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Cobalt

Volume 176: debated on Friday 13 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has on the extent to which employers are currently complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations in relation to control of cobalt exposure and provision of medical facilities to employees exposed to cobalt in the manufacture and use of tungsten carbide, and on the extent to which conditions have improved since the last Health and Safety Executive internal report on the matter.

Data available within the Health and Safety cover a special project national exercise on cobalt exposure in the hard metal industry for the period 1 April 1988 to 31 March 1990; it is not possible without disproportionate cost to give data covering just the second year.During the overall period, 122 premises were visited where cobalt was used; some more than once. By the end of the two-year period, HSE inspectors considered control to be satisfactory and in full compliance with the COSHH Regulations at 106 premises. For seven premises results of atmospheric monitoring are not yet available. At nine premises, exposure was judged to be inadequately controlled; enforcement action is continuing at these premises to ensure compliance with COSHH.HSE does not have comprehensive information on the provision of medical facilities at these premises.