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Exclusive: New Ministry of Defence asbestos guidance described as ‘very worrying’

THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) is under fire for issuing new asbestos guidance that will leave personnel who are exposed to the toxic substance without the paperwork to prove it, the Morning Star can exclusively reveal.

The move comes amid growing concern about the number of MoD personnel and contractors who have been exposed to asbestos while working for the ministry.

Under the old rules, defence personnel who were exposed to asbestos during their careers had to be issued with two copies of official paperwork setting out what had happened to them.

There is no requirement for this under new rules that were published last Tuesday.

Unite the Union national health and safety adviser Rob Miguel told the Morning Star: “There is little difference between the old and new guidance apart from the very worrying change that if a worker is exposed to asbestos, copies of the form detailing that exposure will no longer be supplied, preventing the worker retaining a copy or passing one onto his GP.”

But an MoD spokeswoman told the Morning Star: “The MoD routinely updates it[s] policies and guidance.

“We remain open to receiving feedback on these revisions.”

Unite, which represents many members affected by the MoD asbestos scandal, believes that tens of thousands of people have been exposed to the noxious material.

Retired maintenance crews from Sea King helicopters are among the worst affected after the MoD admitted the aircraft contained 90 separate components containing asbestos.

Earlier this year hundreds of staff at the MoD’s Ashchurch depot in Gloucestershire had to be sent on indefinite leave after asbestos was discovered at the 178-acre site.

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