H&J Martin has today announced they are supporting a new national campaign by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in a bid to raise awareness about occupational lung disease within construction. The campaign which is backed by the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) will run between 17th June and 12th July 2019.
During the campaign, the HSE will be targeting firms across Great Britain in a new series of inspections focusing on dust control. The inspections will concentrate on industries such as construction, woodworking and food manufacturing where occupational lung diseases, including in some cases occupational cancers, are more common.
Inspectors will be visiting businesses across the country to see what measures have been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, wood and flour dust. They will be looking for evidence of businesses and their workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. Where necessary, HSE will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.
UKATA's chief operating office, Craig Evans said:
"As a leading authority for asbestos training provision within the UK, we fully support this initiative by the HSE.
"Although 2019 marks twenty years since asbestos was banned in the UK, it is linked to around 5,000 deaths in the UK every year*, of which 20 a week are attributed to tradespeople.
"I would like to thank H&J Martin for their support and backing of the HSE campaign to encourage a safe and healthier workplace."
HSE's chief medical officer, Professor David Fishwick said:
"Exposure to asbestos, silica, wood, flour and other dust can have life-changing consequences. "Each year work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers
across Great Britain. In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly.
"These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs."
Sarah Jardine, HSE's chief inspector of construction said:
"We are carrying out this series of inspections to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal duties to protect workers from harm. This includes controlling the levels of dust in workplaces.
"We want to ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks associated with any task that produces dust. Such work needs to be properly planned and use the right controls, such as water suppression, extraction and masks.
"The bottom line is we want everyone, workers and their employers, to be protected from harm and ill health so they can go home healthy to their families."
For more information on the inspections and to download your free #DustBuster selfie cards visit: https://bit.ly/2X3PhtT and follow the campaign on Twitter at @H_S_E, on Facebook @SaferSites and Linkedln at linkedin.com/company/health-and-safety-executive. You can also join the conversation at #WorkRight.