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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will target construction firms to check that they are dealing with the risk of occupational lung disease and other respiratory risks created by dust.
The month-long inspection initiative will start on 5
October. While the primary focus will be on the risk to workers’ lungs from the
likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust, if an HSE inspector identifies any
other area of concern, the HSE warned they would 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.
Inspectors will also be looking for evidence of employers
and workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right
controls. If necessary, they will use enforcement to make sure people are
The construction initiative will be supported by HSE’s
‘Dustbuster’ campaign, aimed to influence employer behaviour by encouraging
builders to download free guidance and advice, increasing knowledge and
capability to protect workers’ health.
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’s 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
“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