The Health and Safety Executive says it’s cracking down hard on hazardous dust

Construction sites are closely associated with all kinds of dust. More than 3,500 construction workers die each year before the age of 75 because they have a cancer caused by hazardous dust. Many more die from these cancers after age 75.

The HSE is cracking down

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has decided to crack down on dusty conditions in a series of unannounced inspections during October. They will be looking for hazards caused by people working where these is dust caused by silica, wood or asbestos. They want

  • employers and workers to use methods that reduce the amount of dust
  • workers to be given proper protective equipment when dust is being created.
  • workers to be warned about the risks and how best to protect themselves

You can find out more here.

The risks from asbestos

The owners of buildings have a duty to tell builders and maintenance workers if they know it is present in a building. The owners of non-domestic buildings – including communal areas in flats and apartment blocks – must also keep a register of the asbestos and monitor its condition. Specialist contractors are often required to remove it before other work can begin.

The HSE says that ‘Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals, etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year.’ The number is actually much higher because they do not collect statistics for the over-75s.

The permanent solution to this tragedy would be for the government to adopt a #zeroasbestos policy.

Picture: ‘Managing Asbestos’ HSE