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HCLG Support the ‘Dust Kills’ Campaign

The HSE is carrying out a targeted health inspection initiative focusing on the respiratory risks to construction workers from exposure to silica and wood dust.

Running from Monday 15 May 2023 - Friday 14 July 2023, the campaign aims to raise awareness of health issues in relation to dust exposure and the importance of effective control measures to improve the long-term health of those working in construction.

The HCLG are keen supporters of this campaign and Simon Longbottom, Co-Chair of the HCLG, commented,

“Over the past 20 years we’ve taken huge steps forwards to prevent harm from health risks in construction, but we still have a way to go. The Health in Construction Leadership Group’s aim is to unite the construction industry in eradicating ill health and disease caused by exposure to health hazards. When it comes to dust, we need to get better at eliminating health risks at design by changing work processes and substituting less hazardous materials, and by using effective engineering controls such as on-tool or mobile extraction and water suppression that capture, contain and control harmful construction dust. Training and instruction is also key so that our people understand the need for these controls and how to use them effectively. Personal protective equipment including respirators is always the last line of defence but may be needed as well as engineering control. Working with our supply chains, as well as organisations such as the HSE, we will continue to share and promote best practice across the construction industry.”

Why is the ‘Dust Kills’ campaign so important?

How dust is managed on site is a matter of life and death. Construction workers are dying and many more become chronically ill because construction dust can cause serious lung disease. Employers have a legal duty to control dust effectively and protect their workers’ lung health.

The key campaign messages are:

  • Each year in the construction industry, there are thousands of preventable cases of ill health caused by lung disease due to past exposure to dust at work.

  • Employers have a legal responsibility to prevent ill health of their workers, this includes preventing occupational lung disease that can develop over time.

  • Prevention of ill health should be the priority for workers’ health and is better for business.

  • The Dust Kills campaign highlights respiratory risks in construction and how to prevent exposure to dust on site through design and effective control measures.

  • HSE site inspection initiative has a specific focus on dust control, checking employers and workers know the risks, plan their work and are managing the risks with effective measures in line with the broad hierarchy of control options such as water suppression, extraction, and as a last resort Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE).

How do site teams stay safe around construction dust?

HSE have advice for employers, workers and small builders to work safely. To learn how to plan your work, stop dust getting into the air and use the right controls, you can:

Watch the HCLG Campaign Video:


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