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GMB Scotland has called on Fife Council to review its workplace safety and health policies after workers were exposed to asbestos.

The trade union has claimed that a lack of communication at management and supervisory levels left seven workers from the council’s parks, streets and open spaces division unaware they were handling contaminated waste when dealing with a fly tipping incident in Thornton. It said those who were instructed to manage the waste had not received any asbestos awareness training. The union has also questioned why the affected workers were not decontaminated immediately after the incident was reported. The delay resulted in the staff in question entering the council’s Bankhead offices in Glenrothes.

Annette Drylie, GMB Scotland branch secretary, said: “This is a scandalous breach of workplace health and safety – a litany of failures by the council before, during and after the incident. Management knew this area was contaminated but workers have been sent unawares to deal with the fly tipping. The workers reported the incident but returned to their depot to find the proper decontamination procedure was not immediately applied.
We have notified the heads of service to demand they urgently investigate this matter.”

Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment at Fife Council, was reported by as saying: “As soon as management were made aware of this, a full investigation was set up to establish what went wrong and ensure it does not happen again. The investigation is still ongoing at this time.”

Source – IOSH Magazine

HSCS Scotland Promoting a Healthier Workplace Through Safety