Improved work methods for mineral fibres delayed for eight years

Following a lengthy union campaign, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 1984 recognised that ‘mineral wool’ (glass, rock or slag insulation wools, made from mineral fibres) could no longer be regarded as ‘nuisance dusts’. In 1986, HSE issued a guidance note (EH46) tightening up working practices to reduce the risks, with exposures to be kept below a control limit of 5mg/m3.  The precautions had been delayed for eight years at this point – they had been adopted by an HSE working party in 1979. In 1994, mineral fibres were added to the US government’s official list of recognised human carcinogens.

Exposure to mineral wood, guidance note EH40, June 1986.

Report in Hazards magazine, number 14, June 1987.

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