Can a Government of a European Nation be Liable Under the European Convention on Human Rights for Employees Exposed to Asbestos?
15 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011 Last revised: 2 Feb 2015
Date Written: October 18, 2010
This article explores the likelihood of a national government being held liable under international human rights law for not taking legislative steps to prevent a worker from becoming contaminated by exposure to a toxic work environment. The analysis has a particular focus on whether such failures infringe the right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Of implicit relevance is the breadth of the Art. 2 right to life in ECHR jurisprudence and what a national government would need to prove to argue successfully that it took appropriate legal steps to protect employees from an occupational toxicity. Using asbestos as an example, the article argues that there is a need for a human right better adapted to global occupational toxicity: to a working environment with surfaces and air which is free of contamination.
Keywords: mesothelioma, liability, asbestos, dust disease, Art 2 ECHR
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