HSE Supporting Workers in the Construction Industry
In June, the Health & Safety Executive (‘HSE’) announced that they have partnered up with various organisations such as; the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) and Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), Construction Leadership Council (CLC), Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) and Construction Dust Partnership.
Supporting HSE’s ‘Dust Kills’ Campaign
The partnership is supporting the HSE’s campaign for Dust Kills and supporting workers within Great Britain in the construction industry.
AWH has previously published an article following the HSE concerns surrounding exposure to dust within the workplace.
Unfortunately, some workers suffer from occupational lung disease from being exposed to hazardous substances at work. These illnesses not only affect the worker but can also impact the lives of their family and friends as a result.
HSE to Carry out Inspections
Starting on the 6th June 2022, the HSE will be carrying out site inspections with the aim of improving working conditions and ensuring workers are protected. If the site inspection reveals any areas of concern, the necessary actions will need to be taken by the employer to rectify them.
Actions to Take To Protect Your Employees from Dust and Silica
As an employer, we suggest that you ensure you are protecting your workers from dust and silica, etc.
In order to protect your employees, we recommend you consider the following;
Carry Out a Risk Assessment
This assessment will identify the risks and the potential impact that those risks pose. There is guidance on the HSE website about how to carry out adequate risk assessments.
Consider Whether You Can Prevent Exposure to the Hazardous Substances
It is important to consider alternative substances that are safer to be used as an option. You can contact the manufacturer of the substance for direction, or seek an opinion of an occupational hygienist.
Consider Introducing Extraction Fans.
Installing extraction fans can help to remove the airborne substances from the environment.
Ensure your Employees are Aware of Risks
It is your role as an employer to check that your workers are aware of the risks of exposure to the substances. Providing your workers with information and training should ensure that they carry out the necessary steps to protect themselves from harms way.
The HSE recommends regular medical examinations. This will hopefully identify the early onset of symptoms that your workers suffering from and you will be able to take action to prevent any further exposure.
It does not stop there, you need to frequently check that the systems in place are suitable and sufficient, and if things change, you will have to revisit it again.
What To Do if the Exposure to the Substance is Unpreventable?
If the exposure to the substance is unpreventable, the next step is to minimise the exposure to your workers. You can minimise exposure with protective equipment. Examples of protective equipment would be masks or ventilation. As an employer, you have to carry out research and testing to ensure that the measures are adequate for the job role and the exposure to the substance(s).
For example, you would want the workers to have a fact fit test to ensure that the mask’s seal is effective. This can be costly but it will ensure that your worker is safe at work.
Further Guidance from HSE
The HSE and their partners’ aim is to ensure that the working environments in the construction industry are safe. We hope that the above tips are helpful. If you feel you need any further guidance, the HSE website is full of information and assistance.Get in touch