HSE inspectors across the UK will be targeting construction firms to check that their health standards are up to scratch with the focus being on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease. The inspectors will be looking at the control measures businesses have in place to protect their workers lungs from construction dust including wood dust, silica, and asbestos.
The initiative will be supported by the HSE’s WorkRight campaign, aimed to influence employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download the free information and guidance the HSE have available, increasing knowledge and capability to protect health.
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.
To continue to raise awareness around the dangers of asbestos, SHE Advises will be promoting the campaign on their social media platforms and will invite all its members in the UK to join in on the conversation using #WorkRight.
For more information about the campaign, please visit: https://workright.campaign.gov.uk/campaigns/construction-dust/