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Dust Kills, Health and Safety Executive Campaign

Dust Kills Campaign by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

What is the Dust Kills Campaign?

The Dust Kills Campaign is an initiative launched by the HSE to raise awareness of the dangers of inhaling dust particles within the construction industry. They will be visiting sites of all sizes, from smaller projects to major commercial developments, over the month of October to ensure there are appropriate measures in place to protect the teams on-site. 

What will the HSE be inspecting?

They will be looking at the ‘Design and Planning’ of projects and how the risks are being managed to ensure construction workers are not being exposed to harmful dust while carrying out the required work.

Why have the HSE started the Dust Kills Campaign?

This campaign was started to tackle the health statistics reported on construction workers who have been exposed to dangerous dust on-site. These stats include weekly deaths from lung diseases related to dust exposure, as well as increasingly severe chronic long-term lung conditions.

The effects can take years before this damage becomes visible, so it is important to ensure protective measures are in place from the outset. 

What are key protective measures against dust exposure?

Carry out a COSHH assessment

Design and planning mean establishing what the risks will be, planning how the work will be carried out safely and what preventive actions are required to protect the workers. Exposure to hazardous materials such as dust is regulated under the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)’.

Wear an airtight mask

Masks are one of the most important defences against dust exposure but should be properly fitted and tested to ensure they are airtight. This is done through ‘Face Fits’, which should be carried out and certified by an accredited supplier. The appropriate mask, whether that is disposable or reusable, should be fitted correctly. These will then filter the incoming air for construction workers protecting them against harmful dust inhalation. 

On-tool Extraction and Dry Sweeping

Implementing best practices such as on-tool extraction when carrying out activities that create dust, such as grinding, sanding and drilling, is essential. Also, avoid things like ‘Dry Sweeping by using H Class Vacuums, which have been designed for the safe removal of hazardous materials such as dust.

There are already strict measures in place when dealing with hazardous materials such as asbestos to protect workers, but what seems like an underestimation of the impacts of dust created in general construction. Raising awareness and ensuring simple changes are put in place to protect our workers from this harmful exposure is key to combating the problem.

Full details of the campaign are available on the ‘Work Right’ government website, or you can contact one of the team about the best mask for your project and arrange the appropriate ‘Face Fit’. All our products are available to view on our website, or you can contact a local branch to discuss your needs with one of the team.