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12th July 2023

HSE Launches Targeted Manufacturing Inspection Initiative

two women inspecting a demolished wall

What’s Happening

Following on from the HSE’s recent Construction site campaign targeting dust control, inspectors have now begun another targeted inspection initiative – this time with the spotlight focused on manufacturing businesses.

The inspections are starting this month (July), and this will involve HSE Inspectors visiting manufacturing sites in order to check that employers and workers know the risks involved when dealing with silica.

Silica Risks

Silica is a natural substance found in most stones, rocks, sand, and clay. Silica particles are produced during many manufacturing tasks involving these materials. Over time, exposure to silica particles can harm a worker’s ability to breathe and cause irreversible, often fatal, lung diseases.

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


Inspectors will be looking for evidence that businesses have put in place effective control measures, such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV), and where appropriate, use of water suppression and personal protective equipment such as Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), to reduce workers’ exposure to the RCS. If any health and safety breaches are discovered, HSE will take enforcement action to make sure workers’ health is protected.

We have summarised below the key arrangements for the effective management of 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 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 RCS management or HSE inspections within your workplace or then don’t hesitate to call our H&S adviceline today on 0300 303 5228.

The initiative is supported by HSE’s ‘Dust Kills’ silica campaign.

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