Companies are being urged to register with a new campaign to prevent staff exposure to silica dust and other workplace carcinogens.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) says these can reduce the lifespans of people working in industries such as construction.
That is why it has started a No Time to Lose initiative so that firms can show they are committed to safeguarding employees from such hazards, including asbestos dust.
Tyne and Wear’s latest IOSH branch meeting in Sunderland-based Nissan Sports and Social Club, last week analysed the dangers posed to builders. It demonstrated how practical and operational apparatus can be key in reducing dust.
Dust can end in occupational cancer
Officials told attendees that occupational cancer can be among the diseases workers can suffer. The team emphasised how important it is for bosses to take precautions.
They said many building sector jobs are dangerous if risks are not taken seriously and addressed. These include tasks such as sanding wood, drilling in confined spaces and grinding or cutting concrete.
Tony Bough, the Tyne and Wear chair, said the branch’s members includes several workers from the building trade. But he says the meeting also applied to workers outside of the industry. This is because many companies employ tradespeople who are not tied down to solely the construction sector.
Mr Bough believes attendees now have a better knowledge of workplace cancers, especially the small quantities of dust that can be involved.
Work-related cancer death toll
Work-related cancers account for around 8,000 deaths every year in the UK. Britain also sees nearly 14,000 fresh diagnoses of work-related cancer each year.
The branch was given presentations from Mark Ashby and David Fishwick. Mr Ashby represents the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) building arm. Prof. Fishwick is the Health and Safety Laboratory’s (HSL) chief medical officer and a consultant respiratory doctor.
Several workers get exposed to dangerous dust such as silica during their day-to-day duties.
Inhaling silica dust can result in silicosis. This illness has no cure. Breathing aids and steroids can lessen its impact. This makes it key that builders whose job brings them into contact with these dust particles should be protected.
Date Published: February 17, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown