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Respiratory Disease

We are committed to eliminating respiratory disease in the construction sector and will endeavour to raise awareness of the causes of respiratory disease as well as the appropriate control measures which should be in place to protect workers. The HCLG encourages construction employers to adopt the principles of the hierarchy of control and to eliminate hazards from construction processes where possible.


The HCLG will continue to support and promote campaigns aimed at tackling respiratory disease, including the BOHS Breathe Freely Campaign, the IOSH No Time To Lose campaign, the Construction Dust Partnership and the HSE 'Go Home Healthy' campaign.


In addition,  a HCLG working group is looking specifically at the areas of respiratory disease and design, and case studies and other information and messages coming out of these groups will be shared via this website as they become available.

HCLG Respiratory Health Working Group Action Plan:

1. Eliminate the use of single-use face masks (because there are other, better solutions - with clear messaging around 'why').

2. Educate workers on the difference between PPE and RPE: and between respirable dust and inhalable dust.

3. Engage with designers to ensure they understand how to 'design-in respiratory health'.

4. Encourage sites to focus on applying the principles of prevention and the hierarchy of controls - highlighting the legal obligations.

5. Educate risk assessors to improve awareness and understanding of respiratory risks and encourage the removal of work activities that create harmful dusts, through innovation and use of alternative methods such as off-site manufacture.

6. Produce materials that educate workers on how to use engineering controls such as LEV effectively.

7. Work collaboratively with Coniac and CLC and other industry bodies to promote best practice and host events.

8. Work with suppliers and trade associations on a phased strategy, with effective communication and eduaction.

Respiratory Health Campaign Videos:
Respiratory Health Fact:

The construction industry accounts for the largest proportion (over 40%) of occupational cancer deaths and registrations, with the most significant causes of these cancers being exposure to asbestos, silica and painting and diesel engine exhaust fumes.

Other useful links and resources
There is a wealth of information and resources available related to the issue of respiratory disease - information about what the issues are importantly, what you can do to protect your workers.

Exhaust fumes guidance document

The BOHS Breathe Freely Campaign

IOSH No Time to Lose Campaign

HCLG Case Studies 

HSE Statistics on respiratory disease

HSE Go Home Healthy Campaign - Lungs

Construction Dust Partnership

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