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Where does blame lie for skin cancer?


Sir, Having read your article and comment on skin cancer ('Asbestos rule brings sunburn claims fear', News, July 7) and having followed up on it by advising my company accordingly and instigating signs for site and sun cream availability, I am inclined to think that perhaps Mr Geary (Aon Direct) may be scaremongering a little or attempting to justify the next increase in premiums.

Or, as usual, our judiciary has come up with a knee-jerk reaction and not thought its decision through sufficiently.

While I accept there can be very little doubt where asbestos is concerned, in the case of compensation claims for skin cancer I am intrigued as to where the proportion of blame will lie (or the burden of proof).

I am confident that there are few construction workers who have not run wild outdoors during the school holidays as children (can they sue their parents? ) or been to hot countries on holiday as adults (travel agents beware).

As responsible, caring employers, where do we draw the line? Should we also be advising of the dangers of a full English breakfast?

Perhaps we should remind chippies that saws and chisels are sharp. Or sparks that electricity can shock. Or plumbers that you can drown in water and sewage smells and tastes bad.

I am pro-active in health and safety in construction, but please! Health and safety has its root in common sense - which is in short supply on occasion and you cannot legislate for that. It is our responsibility to lead, advise and direct.

Yet where do you draw the line? And how can it be possible to insure against claims for something that in reality cannot be proven to be contracted between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, 48 weeks of the year?

Chris Potter Site manager Bexhill on Sea East Sussex