Health and safety inspectors across the UK were involved in a month-long inspection initiative, starting on Monday 5 October 2020, targeting construction firms to check their health standards.
As in previous years the inspections were to focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease looking at all the measures each business had put in place to protect their workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust.
The inspections are part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry. The primary focus is on health and if an HSE inspector were to identify any other areas of concern, they would take the necessary enforcement action to deal with them which now includes making sure that workers are safe from the risk of coronavirus and workplaces are COVID-secure.
HSE’s ‘Dustbuster’ campaign supports the construction initiative. The campaign is aimed to influence employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download free guidance and advice. This will then increase their knowledge and capability to protect workers’ health.
More than 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work. Thousands of working days are lost from those suffering ill health.
The 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 lungs. 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 clothing.”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness or believes they have been exposed to asbestos please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 294 3065.