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British builders saved from tan ban

UK contractors have escaped the threat of proposed regulations that would have made bosses liable for the effect of sunlight on their workers.
It will now be up to national governments to decide whether bare-chested outdoor workers should cover up in the sun to save their skin.

New safety rules approved by the European Parliament under the Optical Radiation Directive provide better safeguards for workers exposed to potentially dangerous artificial radiation such as X-rays.

But an attempt to extend the EU legislation to cover natural radiation - sunlight - was watered down after claims that Britain's construction workers would be forced to wear more clothes at work.

Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne said: 'It is no business of the EU to decide whether workers can wear shorts and be bare-chested.

'I wanted to take natural radiation out of the directive completely but we have now have the next best thing - leaving it up to member states to decide whether they legislate or not. All other references to natural radiation have been taken out.'

Labour MEP Stephen Hughes said an important aspect of health and safety had been obscured - the fact that skin cancer cases in the UK had doubled in 25 years.

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