June 13, 2022
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The HSE have announced that from Monday 6th June to Friday 1st July 2022 they will be running a construction site inspection campaign focusing on the health risks of construction dust.

The main dust-related diseases affecting construction workers include lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)and asthma. While some lung diseases, like advanced silicosis or asthma, can come on quite quickly, most of these diseases take a long time to develop.

When controlling hazards, the first stage is to assess the risk, factors that can increase the risk associated with construction dust include work in enclosed spaces, use of high-energy tools like cut-off saws, the duration and frequency of exposure.

The next stage is to determine and implement suitable measures to control the risk, these could include:

  • Measures to avoid creating dust e.g. ordering materials in sizes that means they don’t need to be cut.
  • Measures to stop dust getting into the air when it is created e.g. water suppression to damp down dust clouds, on tool extraction systems to remove dust safely as it is created.
  • Measures to protect the individual e.g. providing and wearing suitable respiratory protective equipment such as disposable or reusable masks.
  • Limiting the number of people near work that creates dust
  • Ensuring good general ventilation

You will also need to make sure workers have the correct supervision, training and instruction to make sure they know how to the do the job and use controls correctly.

Equipment e.g. ventilation, dust suppression and respiratory protective equipment will need to be maintained in good condition in line with manufacturer’s recommendations, with any filters changed at recommended intervals.

The controls you have in place should be regularly reviewed to make sure they are suitable and are effective.

Please speak to your normal PIB Risk Management contact or get in touch using [email protected]  if you have any questions or would like assistance with managing woodworking operations.