Dust inspections by HSE in support of Dust Kills campaign will last until 14 July
DUST. IT CAN KILL. NOT TODAY. BUT YEARS DOWN THE LINE. DON’T RISK YOUR OR YOUR WORKERS' LONG-TERM HEALTH. PROTECT LUNGS FROM DUST.
That’s the message from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as it embarks on another campaign to tackle silica and wood dust on construction sites.
It says workers die every week from lung diseases caused by exposure to dust. Many more suffer from severe chronic long-term lung conditions that severely restrict their activities.
It wants to make sure companies and their employees know the dangers. So, starting on 15 May and lasting for three months, HSE is carrying out a targeted health inspection initiative focusing on the respiratory risks to construction workers from exposure to silica and wood dust.
The inspection initiative will last until 14 July in support of the HSE Dust Kills campaign. HSE says the intention is to support industry by raising awareness of health issues related to dust exposure and the importance of effective control measures.
To find out more about the campaign and what you can do to fight dust exposure, visit the campaign website: Construction Dust – Work Right to keep Britain safe.
You should also download HSE’s dust fact sheets to plan your work to stop dust getting into the air and use the right controls. There is an information sheet specially for stonemasons that can be downloaded from the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg463.htm.
HSE’s Dust Kills campaign provides free advice to businesses and workers on control measures required to prevent exposure to dust. The inspections throughout May, June and July will focus on making sure that advice is being followed.
That advice says dust risks should be managed with effective measures in line with the broad hierarchy of control options: water suppression, dust extraction and, as a last resort, respiratory protective equipment (RPE) – in other words masks.
HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Michael Thomas, says: “Every year we see construction workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work. This is unacceptable in the 21st century, when occupational lung disease is preventable.
“We are urging employers and workers to take the necessary precautions today to protect their long-term lung health, to avoid them and their families suffering from the devastating impact that can result.”
HSE says the primary aim of the inspection initiative is to ensure workers’ health is being protected. But it warns that inspectors will not be ignoring other issues and if any other health & safety issues are discovered inspectors will take the necessary action to deal with them.