Unveiling the Hidden Dangers: The Dust Kills Campaign
At Compass HSC, we hold safety paramount, and the recent findings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concerning the construction industry’s practices have raised a red flag. These insights are a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy working environment.
The Dust Kills Campaign: Unearthing Concerns
Under the banner of the Dust Kills Campaign, over 1,000 inspections were carried out between May and July, with a dedicated focus on minimising the risks associated with construction dust. These inspections have revealed concerning lapses in essential control measures across some construction sites.
The Missing Links in Safety
Some construction sites were found wanting when it came to crucial control measures. These included the absence of water suppression, on-tool extraction, or respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Such lapses not only jeopardize the health of workers but also raise significant concerns regarding compliance with safety standards.
A Serious Health Risk
Mike Thomas, the Acting Head of HSE’s Construction Division, emphasized the gravity of the situation. He stated, “Regularly breathing in the dust generated by many construction activities can cause diseases like lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and silicosis.” This underscores the importance of addressing this issue head-on.
Crucial Areas of Concern
During the inspections, it was evident that certain sites lacked on-tool extraction for high-powered cutting saws, which produce silica and wood dust. Additionally, poorly maintained extraction equipment further compounded the problem. Suitable RPE was sometimes either missing or underutilised, heightening the risks faced by workers.
Room for Improvement
The health of workers was sometimes overlooked during indoor cleaning activities, allowing dust to spread unchecked. However, it’s worth noting that inspectors also encountered positive practices at construction sites where workers’ exposure to dust was effectively managed and controlled.
A Path to Safer Construction
To address these concerns, effective dust mitigation measures have been outlined. These include motorized water suppression, face fit-tested FFP3 RPE, and air-fed hoods or powered air respirators. These measures are pivotal in reducing exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), a substance linked to serious health issues like silicosis and lung cancer.
Our Commitment to Safety
At Compass HSC, we take these findings seriously and understand the profound significance of a safe and healthy working environment. We remain dedicated to providing guidance and support in maintaining the highest standards of safety within the construction industry.
We believe in a proactive approach to health and safety, and these findings only serve to strengthen our commitment to the well-being of all workers.