Priority is often given to safety but thousands more workers suffer ill-health at work than are harmed by at-work accidents. Asbestos and dust are slow killers. HSE estimates that annually there are around 8,000 work-related cancer deaths a year. The construction industry accounts for around 3,500 of these with asbestos and silica the major causes. Construction businesses and workers need to be aware of how dangerous and hazardous to someone’s health such substances can be.

The amount you should not exceed to breathe in daily

Dust is not just a nuisance; it can seriously damage your health and with some types can eventually kill you.

Regular breathing in of these dusts over a long period can therefore cause life changing lung disease.

There are three types of dust:

  • Silica – such as concrete, mortar, sandstone
  • Wood – created when working with soft wood, hard wood, and wood-based products such as MDF and plywood
  • Lower toxicity dust – non silica based such as gypsum (plasterboard), limestone, marble or dolomite

The risks include

  • Lung cancer
  • Silicosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Asthma

3 key things to remember

  • Assess – plan your work
  • Control – stop dust getting into the air (water down)
  • Review – use the right P.P.E. including the right mask
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