HSE on dust blitz

The Health & Safety Executive is launching a one-month initiative targeting construction sites, starting on Monday 5th October 2020.

The Health & Safety Executive is launching a one-month initiative targeting construction sites, starting on Monday 5th October 2020.

For the fourth year running, the focus of the blitz will be on occupational health, specifically respiratory risks and occupational lung disease as part of the on-going Dustbuster campaign.

Inspectors will be looking at the measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust.

However, no aspects of health & safety will be left unexamined including, for the first time, coronavirus security. Sites not practicing social distancing or with inadequate washing facilities will be pulled up. Inspectors will be looking for evidence of employers and workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls.

More than 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work, with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost.

HSE chief inspector of construction Sarah Jardine said: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents.

“Our inspection initiatives ensure that inspectors are able to speak to dutyholders and visit sites to look at the kind of action businesses in the construction industry are taking right now to protect their workers’ health, particularly when it comes to exposure to dust and damage to lungs.

“There are a few simple things that everyone can do to make sure they are protecting their health and their future. Be aware of the risks associated with activities you do every day, recognise the dangers of hazardous dust and consider how it can affect your health. We want businesses and their workers to think of the job from start to finish and avoid creating dust by working in different ways to keep dust down and wear the right mask and clothing.”

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