The Supreme Court has directed all industries involved in mining or producing asbestos to create adequate healthcare mechanisms for diagnoses and treatment of workers engaged in these units. The industries have been asked to maintain a health record of every worker upto a period of 40 years from the beginning of employment, or 15 years after retirement or cessation of employment, whichever is later.
The industries will now have to have a facility for conducting membrane filter test to detect asbestos fibres in the workers' lungs. In its directive issued on January 30, the Supreme Court has also asked the state and Central governments to monitor the emission levels of asbestos fibre per cu cm in the units.
Any worker who tests positive after the filter test will become entitled to Rs 1 lakh paid by the employer in 3 months. The SC bench, comprising of Chief Justice A M Ahmadi and Justice Madanmohan Punchhi, noted that an asbestos worker's right to health and medical aid during service or after retirement was provided as fundamental under the Constitution.