The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a dust inspection campaign aimed at the construction industry to prevent lung disease resulting from dust at work.
The Dust Kills campaign will provide free advice to businesses and workers on the control measures required to prevent exposure to dust.
Inspections will target construction sites across Great Britain from 15 May and throughout June and July.
Inspectors will be checking the control measures in place to protect workers from inhaling construction dusts including silica and wood dust. They will also ensure that asbestos-containing materials have been identified and removed, or managed where necessary to prevent or reduce exposure.
An ‘unacceptable’ disease in the 21st century
The HSE said at the campaign launch that “failure to prevent life-threatening diseases caused by dust at work is unacceptable”.
Each year in the construction industry there are thousands of preventable cases of irreversible lung disease due to past exposure to dust at work. These diseases often have a life-changing impact and can result in early death.
HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Michael Thomas, said: “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.
“Our inspectors will visit a range of construction sites to check businesses are taking the necessary action to protect their workers’ long-term respiratory health. Through engaging with those on site, we can make sure they have considered the job from start to finish, have considered the risks at each stage, and are managing the risks with effective measures in line with the broad hierarchy of control options, such as water suppression, extraction, and as a last resort respiratory protective equipment”
HSE has partnered with construction and occupational health organisations for this campaign, including the Construction Industry Advisory Committee, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), Health in Construction Leadership Group and the Construction Dust Partnership.
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