The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that, on 17 June 2019, it will start carrying out the latest construction health inspection initiative. Visits will be made to construction workplaces where occupational lung diseases, including in some cases occupational cancers, are more common.
Continuing its focus on health, the HSE will be paying particular attention to your control measures in place to protect your workers from occupational lung disease, caused by asbestos, silica, wood and other dusts, when carrying out common construction tasks. This campaign focuses on the construction industry but the HSE could, in the future, extend the focus on occupational lung disease to other industries where there is risk of exposure to hazardous dusts.
Catherine Hare, Monitoring Services Operations Manager of Alcumus Sypol, said: "The HSE have in recent times targeted industries such as construction, manufacturing and food. Whilst this campaign is again focussing on construction; it covers a multitude of dusts rather than specifically focussing on respirable silica.
"This approach could, in time be extended to cover different sectors and could shift the focus away from industry type and concentrate on processes and materials. This means several industry sectors could come under scrutinization at once.
"Whilst initially focussing on exposure to hazardous dusts in construction, this campaign could easily be extended to cover other dusts such as flour/grain dust or additional hazards introduced by dust build ups i.e. explosive atmospheres."
Thousands more workers suffer ill-health at work than are harmed by accidents at work. Construction dust can seriously damage your health and regularly breathing in these dusts can cause life-changing lung diseases. Although safety is often given the priority, asbestos and dust are deemed ‘slow killers’ by the HSE.
Be prepared for your visit
HSE inspectors will be looking to ensure those involved with construction projects know the risks, properly plan their work and use the right controls. Where poor standards are found, enforcement action will be taken.
Here are some simple steps to mitigate the risks of exposure to these dusts:
Plan your work – work in a different way, limit the amount you cut or use non-powered equipment like block splitters
Stop the dust getting into the air - Wet cutting and on-tool extraction are both effective
Use the right mask
Alcumus Sypol’s fully trained Occupational Hygienists are available to assess the risk of exposure to hazardous dusts in your workplace, which could lead to various short-term and long-term health effects. Our experts can help you to ensure that your business is meeting legislative requirements to protect your employees.
Finally, some quick tips to ensure you are ready for your HSE inspection. You need to ensure:
You have appropriate risk assessments in place
Employees have been provided with sufficient information and adequate training to carry out their work
Site Managers are enforcing your procedures and providing appropriate supervision
For more advice on how to mitigate the risks of exposure to dusts, visit our Workplace Monitoring pages, or call 03722913069 and speak to a member of our friendly team.