26 October 2001

HSCwants 30% drop in asthma over nine years

By Andy Moore

BETWEEN 1500 and 3000 people develop occupational asthma each year.

As a result, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has set a target of reducing the incidence of this disabling condition by 30% over the next nine years.

The Commission points out that some sufferers become so debilitated that they are forced to stop work, while others have to change jobs to avoid exposure to asthma inducing substances.

A wide range of occupations such as welding, spray painting, engineering and certain farming operations can trigger the condition, says the HSC.

To help achieve its target, the HSC has agreed to publish an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on the control of occupational asthma as an annex to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002.

This, says the Commission, will remind employers that the law requires them to ensure substances which are believed to cause occupational asthma are properly controlled.

The HSC has also given approval to the establishment of a Project Board to develop, publish and help implement an action plan to reduce the number of occupational asthma cases.

Further measures from the HSE will provide employers with guidance on what steps they need to take to control the condition. &#42