HSE Shares Early Findings of Dust Control Inspections

THE HEALTH & SAFETY Executive (HSE) has shared early findings of over 1,000 inspections targeting how exposure to dust is being managed on construction sites across Great Britain.

As part of its Dust Kills campaign, HSE carried out inspections between May and July, focusing on what businesses and workers were doing to prevent or adequately control the risks from construction dust.

Inspection Findings

The inspections revealed examples of good practice on sites and within companies. These included:

The use of motorised water suppression alongside face fit tested FFP3 respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to reduce exposure to silicosis and lung cancer causing respirable crystalline silica (RCS).
Air fed hoods (or powered air respirators) being used when using high powered cutting saws during carpentry to prevent exposure to asthma causing wood dust.
The inclusion of details of HSE’s campaign within company health, safety and environmental newsletters.

However, HSE says its inspectors also found many examples of poor practice, such as:

No on-tool extraction in place on high powered cutting saws that generate silica and wood dust, along with poorly maintained extraction equipment such as hoses and units making it ineffective.
Suitable RPE not being made available on site for workers to use or making it available but not ensuring it is used.
The health of workers not being considered when carrying out simple tasks such as sweeping up indoors, which requires damping down to control the dust generated and the provision of suitable face-fit tested RPE.

The regulator says a key area of concern is that inspectors are still finding sites where the hierarchy of controls are simply not considered at all; where no effective design or planning has taken place to eliminate risks from dust – such as considering the use of pre-cut materials – and nothing being in place to minimise the risks by use of suitable control measures, such as water suppression and on-tool extraction and the use of RPE.

Dust Exposure Risk

HSE’s Acting Head of Construction Division, Mike Thomas, said: “Regularly breathing in the dust generated by many construction activities can cause diseases like lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and silicosis.

“Every year we see construction workers die from these diseases caused or made worse by their work because the necessary precautions required to protect their long-term lung health have not been taken by employers and workers themselves.

“The 1,000 plus inspections completed took place across a range of construction sites to check the action businesses are taking to ensure their workers’ health is being protected. Some of the examples of good practice found on sites during the campaign are really pleasing. But, as can be seen by some of the poor practices found by our inspectors, where planning around the risks of dust and controls to prevent exposure are not even considered, it shows there is still plenty of room for improvement.”

The law requires employers to prevent the ill health of their workers as far as reasonably practicable, which includes prevention or adequate control of workers’ exposure to construction dust.

Ideally, elimination of the risk of exposure to dust for workers should be achieved by good design and planning. Where this is not possible, HSE advises measures should be put in place to control dust and provide workers with appropriately fitted RPE. Employees should also play their part by taking responsibility for wearing and maintaining RPE provided.

>> Read more about HSE inspections in the news

The post HSE Shares Early Findings of Dust Control Inspections appeared first on Roofing Today.

Generated by Feedzy