Dust 2In June and July, the HSE will be targeting firms across Great Britain in a new series of inspections focussing on dust control. The inspections will concentrate on industries such as construction, woodworking and food manufacturing where occupational lung diseases, including some cases of occupational cancers, are more common.

The visits, which will be taking place across the country, will be focussing on what measures have been put in place to protect worker’s lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, wood and flour dust.

They are looking for evidence of businesses knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. Where necessary the HSE will also use enforcement to make sure workers are protected.

HSE’s chief medical officer, Professor David Fishwick said:
“Exposure to asbestos, silica, wood, flour and other dust can have life-changing consequences. Each year work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers across Great Britain. In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly. These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs.”

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said:
“We are carrying out this series of inspections to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal duties to protect workers from harm. This includes controlling the levels of dust in workplaces. We want to ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks associated with any task that produces dust. Such work needs to be properly planned and use the right controls, such as water suppression, extraction and masks. The bottom line is we want everyone, workers and their employers, to be protected from harm and ill health so they can go home healthy to their families.”

For more information on the inspections and controlling exposure to dust in the workplace .

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