17th May 2023
New Nationwide HSE Inspection Campaign
Starting this week, HSE inspections will be undertaking a targeted Inspection campaign to Construction Sites across the country – with a specific focus on dust control. The Inspections are understood to be continuing throughout May, June and July 2023.
As part of this focussed ‘respiratory health’ campaign, HSE will be checking that both employers and workers know the risks, plan their work, and are using the right controls to minimise exposure to dust.
Each year within the construction industry, there are thousands of preventable cases of irreversible lung disease due to past exposure to dust at work. These diseases often have a life-changing impact and can result in an early death. The HSE has said that failure to prevent life-threatening diseases caused by dust at work is unacceptable, and they are urging employers and workers to take the necessary precautions today to protect their long-term lung health, to avoid them and their families suffering from the devastating impact that can result.
What Will They Be Checking?
Inspectors will visit a range of construction sites to check businesses are taking the necessary action to ensure their workers’ long-term respiratory health is being protected. Inspectors will therefore be checking that the necessary control measures are in place to protect workers from inhaling construction dust including silica (Respirable Crystalline Silica/RCS) and wood dust.
They will also gain assurances that asbestos containing materials have been identified and removed or managed where necessary to prevent or reduce exposure.
We have summarised below the key arrangements for the effective management of Dust/RCS that an 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;
- 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 may be exposed to Wood Dust or RCS.
The primary aim of the inspection initiative is to ensure workers’ health is being protected. Although 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 Dust/RCS management or HSE inspections within your workplace or then don’t hesitate to call our H&S adviceline today on 0300 303 5228.