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Aircraft: Air Conditioning

Transport written question – answered on 15th July 2009.

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Photo of Peter Ainsworth Peter Ainsworth Conservative, East Surrey

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the responsibilities of (a) his Department, (b) the Civil Aviation Authority and (c) the Health and Safety Executive are in relation to the health of persons on board commercial aircraft; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Paul Clark Paul Clark Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

holding answer 14 July 2009

The functions of the Secretary of State for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with respect to health are set out in section 8 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006.

S8 (2) amends the functions of the Secretary of State in the Civil Aviation Act 1982 to include a "general duty of organising, carrying out and encouraging measures for safeguarding the health of persons on board aircraft".

S8 (3) amends the functions of the CAA to include the "health of persons on board aircraft".

S8 (4) requires the CAA to provide assistance to the Secretary of State in relation to the function.

The CAA established the Aviation Health Unit in 2003 as a centre of expertise on aviation health matters. It provides advice to the UK Government and other stakeholders; and suggests and oversees research on relevant aviation medical issues.

Separately, the CAA has specific health and safety regulatory responsibilities under the Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations 2004 for crew members (flight and cabin crew) of UK public transport aircraft. The Regulations require employers to ensure that each crew member is provided with adequate health and safety protection and prevention services or facilities appropriate to the nature of his employment.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety legislation in Great Britain and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) applies within British air space. A memorandum of understanding exists between the CAA and the HSE to reduce regulatory duplication of effort. Similar arrangements exist for Northern Ireland.

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