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HSE Inspections and Dustbuster campaign

Raising awareness and tackling occupational lung disease in construction

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HSE targeting firms to focus on dust control

In a bid to raise awareness about occupational lung disease within construction The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ran a nationwide campaign in June and July that was backed by the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA).

During the campaign, the HSE targeted firms across Great Britain in a new series of inspections focusing on dust control.

The inspections concentrated on industries such as construction, woodworking and food manufacturing where occupational lung diseases, including in some cases occupational cancers, are more common.

Protecting workers' lungs

Inspectors visited businesses across the country to see what measures had been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, wood and flour dust.

Looking for evidence of businesses and their workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls, the HSE will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

UKATA’s chief operating office, Craig Evans said:

“As a leading authority for asbestos training provision within the UK, we fully support this initiative by the HSE.

“Although 2019 marks twenty years since asbestos was banned in the UK, it is linked to around 5,000 deaths in the UK every year, of which 20 a week are attributed to tradespeople.”

12,000 workers killed each year

HSE’s chief medical officer, Professor David Fishwick said:

“Exposure to asbestos, silica, wood, flour and other dust can have life-changing consequences.

“Each year work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers across Great Britain. In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly.

“These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs.”

Fulfilling legal duties

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said:

“We are carrying out this series of inspections to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal duties to protect workers from harm. This includes controlling the levels of dust in workplaces.

“We want to ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks associated with any task that produces dust. Such work needs to be properly planned and use the right controls, such as water suppression, extraction and masks.

“The bottom line is we want everyone, workers and their employers, to be protected from harm and ill health so they can go home healthy to their families.”

Expedient offering free Silica awareness course

To support the drive to increase awareness on the dangers of silica dust we are offering a free in house awareness course.

To register your interest, complete the enquiry form below quoting ‘Free Silica Training” in the message area:

Enquiry Form