Construction Health Inspection Initiative – October 2020

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

There have been big improvements over recent years in reducing the number and rate of injuries to construction workers. However, a number of serious ill-health issues continue to affect construction workers. These can be devastating for individuals and families.

As a result of the continuing ill health issues the HSE will be proactively visiting construction sites in October. The initiative has two main purposes:

  • As COVID – security is a critical health risk in the wider aim of helping people back into workplaces safely and supporting the economy, an initial COVID-19 spot check will be carried out.
  • Once satisfied a site is COVID – secure, the inspectors will focus on respiratory risks to support their continuing strategy to improve the health of construction workers. In particular, they will look at the measures in place to protect workers from occupational lung disease caused by Asbestos and construction dusts.

Respiratory risks are mature health topics that the construction industry should now be managing, but priority is still often given to safety, with thousands more workers suffering ill-health at work than are harmed by at-work accidents.

The HSE states “Asbestos and dust are slow killers and construction businesses, and workers need to be aware of how dangerous and hazardous to someone’s health such substances can be”.

Inspectors will look to ensure those involved with construction projects:

  • Know the risks
  • Plan their work
  • Use the right controls

Where poor standards are found, enforcement action will be taken. It is now time for the industry to take the next step from thinking health to doing health!

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