HSE focuses on respiratory risks

Credit: Adobe Stock / Chinnachote
Credit: Adobe Stock / Chinnachote

This year’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspections will be focusing on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease during its month-long initiative starting 4 October, supported by its WorkRight campaign.

The HSE will look at the control measures businesses have to protect their workers’ lungs from construction dust including silica, asbestos and wood dust as part of the HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry.

Inspectors will also be looking for evidence of employers and workers knowing risks, planning their work and using the right controls. If necessary, they will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

HSE is being supported by the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) and tier 1 industry contractors. During the period, HCLG members will carry out more than 1,000 site visits to assess the effectiveness of measures in place to control workers’ exposure to respiratory risks from dust.

Sarah Jardine, chief inspector of construction at the HSE, 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 initiatives ensure that inspectors can speak to duty holders 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. These are mature health challenges that the industry ought to be managing effectively. 

“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 protective equipment.”