HSE Launch Dust Kills Campaign
Regularly breathing dust at construction sites can cause all manner of fatal diseases such as lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and silicosis. Therefore, construction workers are at high risk of developing any of these diseases. The results of these diseases potentially cause permanent disability and early death. Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from silica dust exposure every single year. In response, the Health, and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a month-long respiratory health initiative called the Dust Kills Campaign. This will target construction sites across Great Britain. The Dust Kills campaign will see HSE inspectors focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease throughout the month of June. Inspections supported by HSE’s Dust Kills campaign will focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease.
What Risks Can Dust Particles Pose?
Construction work can prove a dangerous industry. This is because the inhalation of dust particles creates thousands of preventable cases of ill health every year. Exposure to dust particles can result in severe breathing difficulties and lung diseases. The diseases are often life-changing and with devastating results causing early death.
Dust particles require careful management with the correct preventions in place and appropriate training. Dust particles can be 100 times smaller than a grain of sand. Additionally, you don’t need to see them to breathe them in. Once the particles get into your lungs, they begin causing damage. It can take years before the damage becomes noticeable and often at this point it’s too late. Therefore, site inspections will have a specific focus on:
- Dust control.
- Checking employers and workers know the risks.
- Ensuring employers have a plan for their work and using the right controls.
The network of Dust Kills partners includes British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) and Civil Engineering Contractors Leadership Group (HCLG), and Construction Dust Partnership.
HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction, Sarah Jardine said:
Occupational lung disease is preventable. It can have a devastating impact on both the individuals affected and their family.”
“Each year, construction workers are dying from diseases caused or made worse by their work. We are urging employers and workers to take the necessary precautions today to protect their long-term health.”
Inspectors will be checking control measures are in place to protect workers from inhaling construction dust including Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) and wood dust.
As part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry, inspectors will be checking the control measures in place to protect workers from inhaling construction dust including Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) and wood dust.
The primary aim of the inspection initiative is to employers ensure the health of their workers’. However, if the HSE identify any safety risks or other areas of concern, inspectors will take the necessary action to deal with them.
Jardine added: “Through our inspection initiatives, inspectors can visit a range of construction sites to check the action businesses are taking to ensure their workers’ health is being protected.”
“Through speaking to duty holders, we can make sure they have considered the job from start to finish and are effectively managing the risks.”
“We want everyone, workers and their employers, to be aware of the risk associated with any task that produces dust and use effective control measures, such as water suppression, extraction and masks, to prevent exposure to dust to ensure they are protected from harm and ill health.”
The HSE’s Dust Kills campaign supports the initiative aimed at influencing employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download free guidance and advice. There is also information to support workers, helping them to understand the risks and how to stay healthy.
Our Industrial Disease Solicitors Can Assist with Your Claim
Have you suffered respiratory issues or lung disease because of the dust particle inhalation at your work?
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