HSE Initial Silica Inspection Campaign Results

March 20, 2023
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Since October 2022 the HSE have been running a targeted inspection campaign focussing on manufacturing industries that use materials containing silica. In particular sone working, brick and tile manufacturing, kitchen worktops and foundries.

Exposure to fine respirable silica dust which can penetrate deep into the lungs is associated with long-term health issues such as silicosis, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Typical methods for managing dust and limiting exposure include local exhaust ventilation, water suppression and use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Initial reports from this campaign indicate that inspectors have found the management of RPE was inadequate. Where RPE is used as a control measure the HSE advise that employers should ensure:

  • the type of RPE provided in appropriate for the task
  • the level of protection it provides is suitable for the task
  • tight-fitting RPE is face fit tested and wearers are clean shaven
  • a programme for regular cleaning, checking and maintenance is in place
  • RPE is stored effectively to ensure it remains clean
  • RPE is worn properly, and it is compatible with any other PPE being used

The inspection campaign is currently ongoing.