Health and safety inspectors across the UK will be paying more visits to construction firms this month. The goal of their visits is to check that their health standards are up to scratch, with a particular focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease.
The United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is supporting the initiative, which is part of the HSE’s ongoing Work Right campaign.
Constructions dust are a particularly insidious hazard. Workers may go for years inhaling the dusts without feeling any symptoms of ill health. However, exposure even in small amounts can develop into life changing and fatal illness.
There are over 5,000 asbestos-related disease deaths each year with 2,369 mesothelioma deaths in 2019 and a similar number of lung cancer deaths linked to past asbestos exposure in the UK. There were also 490 asbestosis deaths in the same year.
There are over 600 deaths per year with 450 of these occurring from exposures to RCS (respirable crystalline silica) in the construction sector. Exposure to RCS can cause silicosis and lung cancer.
In total, 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.
Work Right involves ongoing campaigns to help smaller businesses and workers. It helps to ensure they are able to manage workplace risk and protect their health and safety. One of the goals of Work Right is to influence employer behaviour.
As part of the campaign, the HSE hopes that construction workers will be encouraged to download free information and guidance that is available online. So, that those at risk are able to increase their knowledge and capability to protect their health.
Human Focus offers an extensive library of courses to help tackle the threat of construction dust. Silica Dust Awareness, Welding Fume Control – What Everyone Needs to Know and UKATA Asbestos Awareness examines information that front line workers must understand when their work may expose them to these hazards. Our IATP approved Asbestos Duty to Manage provides knowledges that duty holders must have to meet their legal duties when it comes to managing asbestos.