It might sound trivial to laymen, but Construction dust is a massive blight on the UK construction industry. The HSE Executive reports around 500 deaths relating to long-term inhalation of dust from construction sites every year – which is an alarming figure. Construction firms within Flintshire and North Wales as a whole are aware of this, and have measures in place to minimise their workers exposure to hazardous substances.
Some common measures of prevention and control when it comes to hazardous substances are used in conjunction with others. Keeping the number of workers near any dust-producing work areas to a minimum works well, as well as using sheeting and temporary screens to enclose work areas. General mechanical ventilation to remove dust-filled air from work areas is also a tactic employed by most firms – especially when work is enclosed. Finally, the simple act of rotating workers can work wonders in regulating the amount of inhalation suffered by workers.
Generally, assessing risk and putting controls in place works – but those measures are nothing without regular reviews of methods and control mechanism. Procedures should be put in place to ensure that anything related to construction dust is done in a way that is as safe as possible.
It goes without saying that equipment must be maintained appropriately, with RPE filters changed regularly. The HSE Executive demands at minimum, examinations and tests of all on-tool extraction systems are carried out at least once every 14 months by an appropriate person of responsibility. (Usually whoever you have undertaking the initial risk assessments)
Furthermore, your workers should be involved in consultation on any problems and solutions that can be introduced to the work process. A worker of any level of experience should also be supervised to ensure compliance with the controls you get in place – as well as the correct method of work to eliminate any and all risks.