Health and Safety Executive Cracks Down on Construction Dust

Construction dust

Starting on Monday 5th October 2020 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will begin a month-long inspection of activities throughout Great Britain with a particular focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease from construction dust emissions.

Why is Construction Dust a Problem?

Long term exposure to construction dust can seriously damage your health and result in life-changing lung issues. The most common dust-related diseases in the construction industry are lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. This is a result of dust build up in lungs causing permanent damage over time.

The HSE have estimated that past exposure in the construction sector has caused over 5,000 occupational cancer cases and approximately 3,700 deaths annually, with thousands more cases of ill-heath and working days lost.

The Campaign

Throughout October 2020, the HSE will be investigating the measures businesses have in place to protect their workers from exposure to asbestos, silica and wood dust. This is part of their longer term plan to improve occupational health throughout the construction industry. Whilst the inspections will be focused on reducing exposure to construction dust, the HSE will also be prepared to take necessary actions if any other areas of concern are identified.

By launching the ‘Dustbuster’ campaign, the HSE will aim to influence employee behaviours by using a programme of site inspections and encouraging construction workers to download free advice and guidance.

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction, recently commented:

“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.”

This will in turn, raise awareness of the risks associated with construction dust and ensure employees consider how it can affect their health.

How can Redmore Environmental Help You?

Redmore Environmental have produced Air Quality Assessments for a range of projects investigating dust concentrations in the workplace. We provide a variety of monitoring techniques and equipment, which can be tailored to meet your specific requirements:

  • Our Air Quality experts have recently undertaken Ambient Dust Monitoring during site preparation works at the proposed Leicester Tigers Hotel, Leicester. Concerns had been raised in relation to the potential for exposure of patients at the nearby Leicester Royal Infirmary to fugitive dust emissions. A Turnkey Instruments Osiris air quality sampler was positioned downwind to quantify dust releases from the site. Subsequent to the monitoring, a Bioaerosol and Dust Mitigation Plan was produced based on relevant controls specified in the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) document ‘Guidance on the Assessment of Dust from Demolition and Construction V1.1’. The Plan helped reduce potential emissions during construction.
  • Redmore Environmental have also carried out a programme of Indoor Air Quality Monitoring within an office building at St George Street, London. Concerns had been raised that exposure to poor air quality may be linked to adverse health effects experienced by employees within the office. Sampling for inhalable and respirable dust was therefore conducted in accordance with the HSE document ‘MDHS 14/4: General methods for sampling and gravimetric analysis of respirable, thoracic and inhalable aerosols’ (2014). Recommendations were made on how air quality could be improved in the building, however the results indicated that these pollutants were not exceeding the recommended limits.

If you require Ambient Dust Monitoring or Indoor Air Quality Monitoring in support of HSE’s upcoming inspections, then please get in touch with one of Air Quality Consultants today to find out more about how we can help.

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