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HEALTH RISK ‘SILICA DUST’

Campaign to control silica dust exposure

HSE are running a ‘Clear The Air!’ campaign that has been produced in collaboration with the construction industry. In 2004, more than 500 construction workers lost their lives to lung cancer and even more suffered from silicosis as a result of inhaling Respirable Crystalline Silica (known as ‘silica dust’ or ‘RCS’). These estimates are based on HSE-funded research. 

RCS is easily inhaled if unprotected construction workers are involved in cutting stone and concrete such as kerbs or paving blocks. The effects of silicosis can leave sufferers breathless, unable to take part in sport, or daily activities and somtimes rendered housebound and dependent upon bottled oxygen.

A DVD is available that has been edited and scripted by highly experienced members of the construction industry.Vaughan Burnand, Chair of MCG Health and Safety Committee said: “Methods and products to prevent dust clouds have been available for a long time and this working group has produced a range of resources to facilitate their use. It is now up to industry as a whole to take the lead and prevent needless illness and deaths caused by silica dust.” 

Interpave (British Precast Concrete Federation) has also produced guidance on good practice including alternatives to cutting, which can be downloaded for free from the Interpave website. One of their case studies also recommends that cutting offsite should be an option, (even for difficult jobs), and makes suggestions for precast concrete kerbs.

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One Response to “HEALTH RISK ‘SILICA DUST’”

  1. SILICA EXPOSURE AND CONTROL | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Comment: These findings should cause concern to the construction sector from client to contractor. The Basline survey shows that both potential and actual exposure to RCS is significant. The programme of action required is clear: carry out formal structured assessments of the tasks, implement engineering controls and make the subject a greater priority.   […]