UK-based Arco, a leading supplier of safety equipment and workwear, has partnered with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) with the aim of increasing awareness of the hazards caused by construction dust and reducing the number of construction workers that suffer due to exposure to the dust onsite.
Construction dust can be found in building materials such as bricks, concrete, rock, sand, clays, shale and gravel. When inhaled, the dust can cause severe health issues. According to data from the HSE, around 500 construction workers die from exposure to silica dust every year in the UK, and this number is on the rise. Silica dust is one of the types of construction dusts found onsite that can have health risks. It results from cutting, drilling, sanding or moving materials that contain these hazardous particles, and can lead to severe, and sometimes irreversible, respiratory illnesses such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer. The construction sector has a high rate of occupational cancer, accounting for 3500 fatalities and 5500 cancer registrations per year.
Wearing the correct protection gear and implementing appropriate control measures can reduce health risks. Arco and BOHS will provide advice and support to UK construction companies in raising awareness of the issue and reducing dust levels. Arco has also published a Construction Dust Expert Guide, which has been endorsed by the BOHS. This comprises guidance on minimising and containing construction dust, protecting workers and reducing risk. It includes information on best practice, relevant legislation, as well as a guide to specialist respiratory protective equipment and available training options.
“Improving worker safety is at the forefront of Arco’s company ethos, said Sally Clayton, Product and Procurement Manager at Arco. “This partnership with the BOHS offers us the opportunity to raise awareness of construction dust as an important issue. It is vital that people are aware of the risks and severe health effects that they face if the right safety protection is not worn. It’s not just about an incident and accident-free environment, it’s about eliminating and minimising the occupational health risks that people face when working on our sites and projects. This will ensure that we continue to maintain a safe and healthy workforce now and in the future.”
“Technological advances in the last century have served to dramatically increase dust exposure to workers. This is because of the high pressure power and air equipment now available and in use in mining, sandblasting and other industrial settings, such as the construction sector. There are also highly effective dust control techniques available to employers to protect their workers. With suitable action the issue of construction dust exposure can be managed and addressed by the application of good occupational hygiene practice,” added Mike Slater, President at the BOHS. “We welcome this opportunity to raise awareness of this issue, promote higher levels of understanding in reducing risk of exposure and to promote clear standards to enable progress to be made in reducing the burden of ill health from the work environment.”
Arco’s Construction Dust Expert Guide and further resources can be found here.
Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/23102014/arco-partners-with-bohs-to-combat-construction-dust-722/