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Breathe Freely: tackling occupational lung disease in the construction sector

World Cement,

On 28 April 2015, Worker Memorial Day, BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, launched a new initiative called Breathe Freely in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Constructing Better Health, Land Securities and Mace. The purpose of this initiative is to prevent occupational lung disease in the construction industry.

It is estimated that approximately 3500 people will die from occupational cancer caused by past exposures in construction in 2015, and a further 500 from silica dust exposure. The HSE indicates that there are one hundred times more deaths from work related illnesses in the construction sector than deaths from accidents.

‘Breathe Freely’ and take control

Targeted specifically at managers and site supervisors within the construction sector, the aim is not just to raise awareness of the problem but also to effect action by providing practical solutions by sharing best practice and encouraging implementation of effective exposure control.

Launching the initiative on Worker Memorial Day, distinguished speakers included Clive Johnson, Group Head of Health and Safety for Land Securities, Lawrence Waterman OBE, Managing Partner at Park Health and Safety Services, Professor David Fishwick, Consultant Respiratory Physician and HSL’s Chief Medical Officer, and Mike Slater, President of BOHS.

The Breathe Freely initiative will provide practical advice and information on:

  • A new Worker Health Protection Management Standard, which is a free tool developed specifically for the construction industry setting out good practice for managing health risks.
  • Twenty fact sheets developed for twenty different trades highlighting the main hazards, highest risks and preferred control options.
  • How occupational hygienists can help recognise, evaluate and control the hazards on site via

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Adapted from press release by

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