Expert Insights, Respiratory Protection Series - No. 1

Dust Kills. Our Guide to being HSE Inspection Ready.

As part of their commitment to improving the health of workers, the HSE have begun a summer long ‘surprise inspection’ campaign to improve respiratory health and prevent workers from developing occupational lung disease. Currently targeted at construction workers, the ‘Dust Kills’ campaign aims to ensure that businesses are fully compliant with HSE regulations on the control of dust in the workplace and the education and protection of workers.

Lung disease is irreversible

12,000 people die from occupational lung disease every year, while 19,000 cases of respiratory illness are believed to be caused or exacerbated by exposures in the working environment. Illnesses range from occupational asthma to diseases which don’t appear till long after exposure has ended, such as lung cancer, silicosis and COPD. These are all preventable diseases

Dust is an invisible killer

Dust particles are often so small they cannot be seen, and the lungs cannot remove them. The damage effects vary according to the type of dust inhaled; construction workers suffer one of the highest death rates from silicosis - a long-term lung disease caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually over many years. Silica is a substance naturally found in certain types of stone, rock, sand and clay. Many common construction tasks involve working with these materials, which can create a high level of very fine dust that can be easily inhaled. The amounts needed to cause this damage are not large: the largest amount of silica someone should be breathing in daily after using the right controls is about the size of a pinhead.

Once inside the lungs, silica causes inflammation, gradually leading to areas of hardened and scarred lung tissue (fibrosis). Lung tissue that's scarred in this way doesn't function properly and can lead to respiratory failure.

Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from exposure to silica dust every year.

Do you need to get inspection ready?

There are a few essential steps to compliance which you can take quickly:

  1. Plan work on site to avoid dust creation.
  2. Control the dust created.
  3. Wear appropriate protective masks.
    If you contact Anchor Safety, we can help you ensure you are compliant and inspection ready in just 24 hours.

Related post: Dust Kills Across A Wide Range Of Industries

To help you on your fast track to compliance, Anchor Safety can assist straight away, by introducing you to Drager Powered Respiratory Kits (also known as Draeger in some markets) – these kits are the fastest way to get started with powered respiratory protection.

View the Drager Powered Respiratory Kits

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