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SILICA DUST IS AIRED

Workforce warned of danger in cutting stone, concrete or masonry

HSE states that “silica dust kills more than 500 construction workers every year but … many people are unaware of the dangers.”

A event is taking place in Liverpool on Wednesday 17 February to raise awareness about the dust, which is the second biggest cause of lung disease in workers after asbestos.

Range of precautions available

Companies are being urged to use methods to break materials which do not create dust, to damp materials when cutting to stop dust getting into the air, use dust suppressant tools or to use special vacuums to suck up dust. Workers should also wear high-quality protective masks.

Moira Caddick, Health and Safety Awareness Officer at HSE, said:“The lives of hundreds of workers and their families are devastated every year by lung diseases caused as a result of breathing in silica dust.

“But many people simply don’t realise they’re releasing potentially deadly particles when they cut into kerbing, paving or other block materials. Silica dust can get onto your lungs and cause breathing problems, which can eventually lead to lung cancer.

“Construction companies should therefore avoid creating dust from stone, concrete or masonry wherever possible, and make sure workers always wear suitable dust masks.

“I hope construction workers will come along to the free awareness event in Liverpool on Wednesday to find out more about silica dust and get advice which could end up saving their lives.”

Joint working with material suppliers

Health and safety awareness officers will be at Beers Timber & Building Supplies on Boundary Street in Liverpool between 8am and 11am on Wednesday 17 February.

The drop-in event has been organised as part of the Working Well Together initiative – a partnership between HSE and the construction industry – which aims to improve health and safety in the sector.

More information is available at www.wwt.uk.com

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