Following on from the January 2019 launch of the HSE’s Dustbuster campaign, the HSE have announced their latest initiative to carry out more construction site inspections starting on 5th October, the initiative will last for one month. This is the fourth health-focused initiative of its kind. As in previous years, inspections will focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease; looking at the measure’s businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust. This is part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry.
Construction Site Inspections | Put Workplace Safety First
According to the HSE, every year approximately 8,000 workers die of work related cancer. Of this figure, approximately 3,500 deaths are people involved in the Construction Industry.
HSE inspectors will be checking that those involved in construction work know about the risks of asbestos and dust, the work has been properly planned and the most effective control measures are being used. If an HSE inspector visits a site and the risks to workers from asbestos or dust is not being controlled, the HSE can issue enforcement action.
Asbestos can be found in any building constructed prior to the year 2000. Asbestos causes approximately 5,000 deaths per year. Employers need to ensure that they comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
Construction Site Inspections & Dust Hazards
There are three main types of dust which can be found on construction sites:
- Silica dust – created when working on materials like concrete, mortar and sandstone.
- Wood dust – created when working on softwood, hardwood and wood-based products like MDF and plywood.
- Lower toxicity dusts – created when working on materials containing very little or no silica. The most common include gypsum, limestone, marble and dolomite.
Some lung diseases caused by dust can develop quite quickly but most lung diseases develop over time causing permanent life changing damage. The regulations which covers the hazard of dust is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2012.
While the primary focus will be on health during this programme of inspections, if a HSE inspector identifies any other areas of concern, they will take the necessary enforcement action to deal with them. This will include making sure that businesses are doing all they can to protect their workers from the risk of Coronavirus and ensuring workplaces COVID-Secure.
Simple Safety Steps for Employers
Employers have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of their workers taking into account:
- Assessing and controlling any risk of asbestos or dust exposure.
- Training employees on the associated risks when working in the Construction Industry.
- Advice regarding health surveillance for all workers.
Don’t take risks with safety. Get expert Health and Safety legal advice today to protect your employees and your business.