GMB slams Fife Council for ‘litany of failures’ after workers exposed to deadly asbestos
GMB Scotland has today (Friday 26 May) called on Fife Council to urgently undertake a root and branch review of its workplace health and safety policies after seven staff members were exposed to deadly asbestos.
Workers in the parks, streets and open spaces service were exposed when dealing with a fly tipping incident at Heathery Wood in Thornton but a breakdown in communication at management and supervisory levels left staff unaware they were handling contaminated waste.
GMB is also demanding answers from council chiefs as to why there was a delay in the standard decontamination process of the exposed staff after the incident was reported, which resulted in the affected staff entering the council’s Bankhead offices.
Further calls have also been made to investigate allegations that the staff instructed to deal with the waste had received no previous asbestos awareness training.
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 but confidence among our members over management’s approach to protecting their health and safety at work is in tatters.
GMB Scotland expects nothing less than a swift and transparent response from management with the full consultation of the trade union and we have also instructed our solicitors to begin action on behalf of the members affected.”
Contact: Annette Drylie, GMB Scotland Branch Secretary for Public Services in Fife, on 07717215348 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.