HSE initiative on respiratory risk and occupational lung disease starting 5 October


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) across Great Britain will be focusing on understanding and preventing respiratory disease caused by construction activities, in a month-long initiative starting on Monday 5 October 2020.


During this month-long initiative, inspectors will be undertaking inspections of construction sites to understand how well companies are managing the risk of respiratory disease.












As the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG), we fully support this, and are committed to reducing the incidence of respiratory disease in the construction industry. We encourage construction employers to ensure they can recognise the hazards, evaluate the risk, and put the right control measures in place, following the principles of the hierarchy of control.


Construction workers could be exposed to some or all of the following substances, which can cause serious, debilitating, irreversible, life-limiting and, in some cases fatal, lung diseases.


Like lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis (eg. asbestosis and silicosis), asthma, pulmonary oedema, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):


· Diesel exhaust fumes

· Silica dust

· Wood and other dusts

· Asbestos

· Welding fumes

· Legionella and other biological agents

· Solvents

· Isocyanates, epoxy and other resin vapours and mists

· Coronavirus


The HSE and a number of other organisations have developed a range of free resources to help employers and workers:


· The BOHS Breathe Freely Campaign, with resources including trade fact sheets, toolbox talks, visual standards and case studies

· Construction Dust Partnership resources

· IOSH No Time To Lose campaign resourced on Dieseland Silica Dust

· HSE resources

· This video interview with a former stonemason suffering from silicosis offers a stark reminder about why protecting workers from the hazards which cause lung disease is so important.


There are also a number of the HCLG case studieswhich focus on preventing respiratory disease. Please get in touch to share any other examples of interventions which have been successful in reducing or eliminating the risk to workers from respiratory hazards. We want to share more examples of good practice, to help others and ultimately to raise standards across the industry.


For more information on the programme of inspections follow the campaign on Twitter at

@H_S_E, or on Facebook @hsegovuk and @SaferSites. You can also join the conversation at #Dustbuster

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