On 5 October 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) begins an inspection initiative targeted at construction firms to check measures are in place to prevent respiratory risks and occupational lung disease from substances such as silica, asbestos and wood dust. The initiative will last until 30 October.

While the primary focus will be placed on health while working with dust, where any other areas of concern will be identified on-site, HSE will take the necessary enforcement action to deal with them, including making sure that the workplace is COVID-19-secure.

HSE inspectors will also be looking at employers and employees being aware of the risks when at work, what are the controls and how the work is planned. The in

itiative will be supported by  HSE’s “Dustbuster” campaign, which aims to influence employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download free guidance and advice to improve workers knowledge and protect their health.

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents”.

“Our inspection initiatives ensure that inspectors are able to speak to dutyholders and visit sites to look at the kind of action businesses in the construction industry are taking right now to protect their workers’ health, particularly when it comes to exposure to dust and damage to lungs”.

“There are a few simple things that everyone can do to make sure they are protecting their health and their future. Be aware of the risks associated with activities you do every day, recognise the dangers of hazardous dust and consider how it can affect your health. We want businesses and their workers to think of the job from start to finish and avoid creating dust by working in different ways to keep dust down and wear the right mask and clothing”.