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22nd September 2022

New Targeted HSE Inspection Initiative

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What’s Happening?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently announced that its Inspectors are to commence a targeted inspection regime over autumn/winter – specifically focussing on manufacturing businesses where materials that contain silica are used.

This Inspection initiative is on the back of recently updated guidance produced to support businesses who are involved in such areas as brick, tile and stone manufacturing etc in order to reduce the risks of work-place silicosis

Silica Exposure Risks

Prolonged exposure to airborne particles of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can lead to life-changing respiratory conditions such as silicosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Silica is a natural substance found in most stone, rocks, sand, quartz and clay. Silica particles are produced during many manufacturing tasks involving these materials. Silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer can all be caused by breathing in tiny particles of silica.

Over time, exposure to silica particles can harm a worker’s ability to breathe and cause irreversible, often fatal, lung disease.

Inspection Campaign

Starting from October 2022, HSE inspectors will begin a targeted inspection initiative focusing on manufacturing business where materials that contain silica are used, to ensure they have control measures in place to protect workers’ respiratory health.

If you are involved in such as activities as brick or tile manufacturing, foundries, stone working sites or the manufacturer of kitchen worktops, our advice is to prepare for an Inspection now.

We have summarised below the key arrangements for the effective management of airborne silica that a HSE Inspector will expect to see in the event that they do visit your workplace:-

  • Suitable and Sufficient COSHH Assessment;
  • Results of air monitoring reports for RCS;
  • Provision of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) and appropriate ‘thorough examination and test’ reports;
  • Dust suppression/wet cutting methods including details of any water suppression systems;
  • Use of protective equipment such as Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE);
  • Face-fit testing and training records of all operatives who are required to wear RPE;
  • Health surveillance arrangements for operatives who maybe exposed to RCS.

As you may expect if any health and safety breaches are discovered, HSE will take enforcement action to make sure workers’ health is protected.

If you are an existing client and have any queries regarding RCS management or a HSE inspection within your workplace or then don’t hesitate to call our H&S adviceline today on 0300 303 5228.

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