TUC – Diesel Exhaust In The Workplace Guide:
To: All Branches
The TUC have today published a new Guide ‘Diesel Exhaust In The Workplace’ to assist Union Health and Safety Reps and Union Reps generally. A copy is attached.
Diesel Exhaust Emissions are a major workplace hazard. Although most of us are exposed to diesel exhaust during our journeys to work, some groups of people have very high exposures and it is becoming a significant health problem.
Emissions from diesel vehicles are far more harmful than those from petrol vehicles and diesel exhaust is now one of the biggest workplace killers after asbestos. The Health and Safety Executive also produce a free booklet on diesel exhaust that every employer should use. This is entitled ‘Control of Diesel Exhaust Emissions in The Workplace (HSG187)’. A copy is also attached.
Diesel engine exhaust emissions are a mixture of hundreds of different compounds produced by engines using diesel as fuel. Over 20 chemicals known or suspected of causing cancer have been found in diesel exhaust.
Diesel Exhaust is a carcinogen. That is a chemical known to cause cancer. The international body that classed it as a carcinogen said that people who are regularly exposed to diesel exhaust fumes at work can be up to 40 per cent more likely to develop lung cancer.
The Health and Safety at Work Act says that all employers must make a “suitable and sufficient assessment” of the risks to health from anything in the workplace. After the risk assessment is done, the employer has to take any necessary steps to prevent or adequately control exposure to any hazards.
Once the control measures are in place the employer must ensure that they are working. That means regular checking of equipment and processes.
For some workers the exposure happens outside the workplace. This is a particular problem for drivers, couriers and people who spend a lot of time on busy roads.
This new TUC guidance is intended to help union health and safety representatives to get the health risks from diesel exhaust exposure to be controlled in the workplace.
It contains information on:
- What and where diesel exhaust is
- What the health risks are
- What the law says
- What your employer should be doing
- A simple checklist for workplace representatives.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer