Regional action against Asbestos set on December

A regional day of action calling for a ban on Asbestos is set on December after BWI’s affiliates in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific held an online meeting with a broad network of anti-Asbestos advocates in an effort to strengthen the campaign.

A total of 37 participants joined the 26 August meeting, including experts such as Dr. Jim Tewaternaude, Public Health Medicine Specialist, Consultant to the Asbestos and Kgalagadi Relief Trusts, Dr. Sophia Kisting, Executive Director of the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) and Fiona Murie, Former BWI OHS Director. CFMMWEU General Secretary 

Dave Noonan also shared his long experience in campaigning against the use of Asbestos in workplaces.

Kisting said that the meeting, which was organised amidst a pandemic, motivated a lot of trade unions, especially in Africa.  “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need to strengthen our OSH structures and promote the prevention of occupational diseases, including Asbestos-related diseases. We must push our respective countries, being members of the ILO and WHO, to fully comply with the call to ban the use of Asbestos in our workplaces. 

This was echoed by BWI Africa and Middle East Vice President and UBCCECAWU General Secretary Oloka Mesilamu. “The asbestos threat is real for many workers. It is a terrifying and silent hazard that adds to the fear and anxiety caused by COVID-19. We should do everything we can to ban it.” 

Asbestos is a severe cancer-causing agent. Currently, about 125 million workers around the globe are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces.