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What should my employer do?
The Health and Safety at Work Act makes it clear that there is a legal responsibility on every employer to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health of their employees. It also states that employers must provide information, instruction and supervision to ensure their safety.
This requirement covers not just an employee's safety from immediate injury but also any danger to their long term health. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations also require the employer to conduct a suitable risk assessment of risks to health of the workforce. This includes any risk from any hazard that may cause cancer.
The regulations also state that the employer must identify and then introduce preventative and protective measures needed to improve workplace health and safety. The regulations are clear that the first aim should always be to remove the hazard. If not then the regulations provide a certain order for them to assess the risk and reduce this to the lowest level possible. This includes substitution for less hazardous substance or process or failing that issue personal protective equipment (PPE).