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HSE focusing on the construction sector this October

Two HSE inspectors

Working within the construction sector can pose more Health & Safety risks than working within other industries, like offices for example. In fact, the HSE reported that in 2019 there were 79,000 workers suffering from work-related ill-health and 30 fatalities to workers in the construction sector. 

As well as the additional workplace risks, like the use of heavy machinery and the risks of working from height, workers are also exposed to other hazards like dust inhalation... 

HSE focusing on the construction sector and respiratory risks

As part of the HSE’s wider strategy to improve health within the construction sector, they are launching a health-focused inspection initiative this October (beginning on the 5th), focusing on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease. This initiative focuses particularly on the measures in place to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, and wood dust. Some of the key dust-related diseases that can affect those in construction are lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma.

Inspectors will want both employers and employees alike to understand the risks associated with working with dust and how to plan their work using the right control methods. 

This initiative is supported by HSE’s ‘Dustbuster’ campaign which encourages builders to download guidance and advice so they can increase their knowledge and capability of protecting their workers’ health. 

During their visits, inspectors will also be looking to see if the correct COVID safety measures are being implemented to protect their workers from the risk of Coronavirus. If other areas of concern relating to workers health or safety are identified, these will be responded to as well.

The main focus of this campaign is workers’ health and identifying what measures are in place to protect their health, particularly when it comes to dust exposure and lung damage.

“More than 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work, with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost” (HSE). What’s more, is that “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents.”

To find out more, visit the HSE press release here...

Now’s the perfect time to train your workers

With this initiative being launched as of the 5th October, for all of October, HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Sarah Jardine, spoke about the need for everyone to be made aware of risks posed by day to day tasks, the dangers of hazardous dust and the considerations of how it can affect workers’ health. 

Employers and their staff should be considering the risks posed to a worker’s health when working with dust from the start of the job, to the end. 

How we can help

iHASCO’s range of Health & Safety courses for construction can help employers and workers alike to raise awareness of workplace risks when working within the industry and help work towards a reduction in workplace injury and ill-health. When you finish one of our courses, we provide you with a certificate of completion to prove that you’ve taken your training and have learned everything you need to from that course. Some of our most popular courses include:

We also have some free resources for your workplace, to help employees work safely:

Construction Courses