FROM 17 JUNE onwards, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) begins a new round of construction site inspections focusing on health.
Inspectors will be examining what measures are in place on construction sites to protect workers from occupational lung disease, in particular caused by asbestos, silica, wood and other dusts.
The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) recently partnered with Gully Howard to offer roofing contractors a low-cost course asbestos awareness course that can be completed online and takes about an hour.
Silica dust is a particular challenge for roofing contractors as it is created as a dust when roofing tiles are cut for verges, valleys etc. The NFRC offers detailed specific guidance on cutting roof tiles to avoid silica dust inhalation here.
As the HSE points out, thousands more workers suffer ill-health at work than are harmed by at-work accidents. HSE estimates that there are around 3,500 work-related cancer deaths a year mostly caused by breathing in microscopic asbestos fibres and silica dust. The fibres and dust may not be visible but they lodge deep inside the lungs and over time can reduce lung function and cause cancerous tumours.
The HSE inspection initiative will check that construction workers are aware of the risks and hazards, planning work and putting the correct measures in place.
For more details see:
HSE offers a #Dustbusters hashtag on social media for construction companies and workers to share what they’re doing to protect themselves from breathing in dust.