The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a two week drive in order to check ill health on construction sites. The HSE will make unannounced visits to construction sites across Britain, but will be specifically looking at respiratory risks from dusts such as silica materials, exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint, manual handling, noise and vibration.

Poor working conditions could lead to ill health, especially on construction sites. For instance, it is believed that over 500 deaths a year are caused by exposure to silica. It is hoped that these targeted inspections will help to reduce death, injury and ill health in the construction sector.

HSE┬áChief Inspector of Construction, Heather Bryant, said, “The construction sector has made good progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured by its activities. We need to tackle where workers are unnecessarily being exposed to serious health risks, such as silica dust, which can have fatal or debilitating consequences.

“This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe.”

Ms Bryant also issued a stark warning, saying, “However, let me be clear – poor risk management and a lack of awareness of responsibilities is unacceptable. Companies who deliberately cut corners can expect to feel the full weight of the law.”

For more information, see:

  • INDG463 – Control of exposure to silica dust;
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations SI 1992/2793;
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations SI 2002/2677;
  • Control of Noise at Work Regulations SI 2005/1643.