Parliamentary Group calls for evidence on silicosis risk reduction

Silica – The next asbestos?

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health is following up its 2020 report Silica – the next asbestos? with a year-long update enquiry.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health (APPG) is conducting a one year update inquiry on its 2020 report into silicosis. 

The 40-page 2020 report was called Silica – the next asbestos? If you have not read it yet you can download it here. It calls for the silica exposure limits to be halved, bringing them down to the same level as the limits in America.

The update now is to consider developments in risk reduction strategies for companies involved in silica dust exposure.

Silica – the next asbestos? summarised the results of a joint six month enquiry by the APPG and B&CE (originally Building & Civil Engineering Holiday Scheme Management Ltd, a financial services company best known for The People’s Pension). That enquiry looked at the disease burden of silicosis, the diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease and the impact on the lives of people suffering from it.

Silicosis is the most common chronic occupational lung disease worldwide[1]. It is the biggest dust danger to construction workers after asbestos and is entirely preventable[2].

It is estimated 600,000 workers are exposed to silica in the UK[3] and the consequences of silicosis are estimated to cost employers in the construction industry about £1million per year[4].

Since Silica – the next asbestos? was published, a number of stakeholders have contacted the APPG with updates and advances on new technologies designed to further protect the workforce, all of which the Group was unaware of at the time of the original report.

Hugh McKinney, Policy Adviser and Secretariat of the APPG, says: “We have decided to update the report to enable us to consider technological advances in the proper context and explore their advantages.

“We would like to invite all businesses and other stakeholders within the construction industry to submit evidence to our update report.”

Any organisations or individuals interested in submitting evidence should contact Hugh McKinney on [email protected].

The deadline for submissions is 4 March 2022.

 

[1] M. Nola and S. Dotlić ‘The Respiratory System’ in Damjanov, I (ed) Pathology Secrets Philadelphia: Mosby Elsvier (2009) p203

[2] http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/cancer-and-construction/silica-dust.htm Last accessed 12/12/2021

[3] C. C. Leung, I. T. S. Yu and W. Chen Silicosis The Lancet 379:9830 (2012) p2008–2018 Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673612602359 Last accessed 12/12/2021

[4] Gibb, A., Drake, C. and Jones, W. (2018) Costs of occupational ill-health in construction. Loughborough University / ICE available at https://www.ice.org.uk/ICEDevelopmentWebPortal/media/Documents/Disciplines%20and%20Resources/Briefing%20Sheet/Costs-of-occupational-ill-health-in-constructionformattedFINAL.pdf
Last accessed 12/12/2021