Managing dust in construction

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are targeting the construction sector this month in an inspection initiative. The inspections, which started on Monday 4 October, are analysing any respiratory risks caused by the exposure to certain substances.

The purpose of these inspections is to look at measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from hazardous substances – such as asbestos, silica, and wood dust – with the view to seeing if any improvements need to be made.

This is part of the HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry. More than 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work and becoming exposed to harmful substances, with thousands more cases of ill health and working days lost.

Your responsibilities as an employer

As an employer, you hold a legal duty to protect your workers by preventing or reducing dust exposure to your workers. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), you have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the Health & Safety of all employees at work. You can do this by assessing and controlling the risks.

If you’re performing activities that produce dust in construction, you should:

  • Avoid creating dust if and wherever possible
  • If cutting, use wet cut techniques (e.g., for roof tiles)
  • Provide respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE) – even if you’re sweeping up on the construction site, you should wear the relevant RPE. It’s important to ensure that RPE does not affect hard hats, eye protection or ear protection during the worker’s time on-site.
  • Do not use dust bags and instead make sure you have adequate dust extraction that needs to be filtered. This must be rated high or medium at least. You must also conduct regular risk assessments on extractors.

For a more detailed guide to managing dust in construction, please check out our free download below.

Managing dust in construction

Our experts' guidance on the hazards and risks of dust in construction

Download the guide

How we can help

At Citation, we partner with businesses across the country to provide them with comprehensive Health & Safety, HR and Employment Law support. From on-site services to documentation and policies, our experts are here to help, 24/7.

For more support on this topic, simply call 0345 844 4848 if you’re an existing client of ours, or call 0345 844 1111 if you’re not already a client of ours and we’ll get you started.

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