Unions step-up OHS concerns over nanotechnology

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has updated its campaign over nanotechnology concerns.  Geoff Fary, Assistant Secretary, said in a media statement 

“With animal tests showing some nanomaterials share the same characteristics and reactions as asbestos fibres, governments and business must not repeat the  painful lessons of the past and allow another tragedy to occur again.

 “Existing laws and regulations were not designed with the unique properties of nanoscale materials in mind. A recent report from the NSW Parliament recommended this be addressed and we believe it should be done nationally too.

 “Until we know more about nano materials, we should regulate as if it is dangerous to human health. It is the only safe option.

 “Workers in manufacturing, retail, health, laboratories, textiles, and outdoor workers are potentially exposed to nanomaterials, and the list will grow as the industry grows.”

These comments are reminiscent of the Luddites of the Industrial Revolution however the Luddites had not experienced pernicious widespread hazards such as asbestos.  The modern society and workplace has benefited from a better understanding of occupational hazards and the union campaign deserves an audience.

The union concerns are outlined in a factsheet available through this link actufactsheet0904-nanotech

Kevin Jones

An interview that SafetyAtWorkBlog conducted with the ACTU OHS Officer, Steve Mullins, is available HERE.  A podcast with an award-winning nanotechnology researcher is available HERE

Categories nanotechnology, OHS, safety, Uncategorized, workplaceTags , , , ,

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