Construction occupational health inspection campaign findings
“This campaign took place over one week (13-17 June 2016) and focused on the prevention of occupational ill-health when working on construction sites. During the week 302 inspections were carried out.
The inspectors looked at the prevention of silicosis, COPD and cancer from silica dusts generated by, for example, cutting concrete kerbs and slabs with concrete saws without adequate controls.
They recommended the use of water suppression systems and on-tool extraction, using the correct respiratory protective equipment to FFP3 level protection, particularly during wall chasing, floor scabbing and when sweeping up internal spaces. Inspectors also advised duty-holders and workers on preventing skin cancers from the effects of excessive sunlight, on using sun creams and wearing long sleeved tops.
Preventing cancers from disturbing asbestos containing materials during demolition work and when refurbishing older buildings was also considered. Inspectors looked for evidence of asbestos surveys being carried out before demolition or refurbishment work started. Inspectors promoted compliance with the Authority Guidance on Asbestos in older buildings. Poor manual handling leads to increased risks of back problems and inspectors concentrated on the manual handling of glazing units and compliance with the recently published Authority Guidance on this issue.
Some positive findings from the campaign included more prevalent use of con saws with water based dust suppression systems, block splitters in use, asbestos surveys being carried out prior to demolition, correct filtered hoovers being used for housekeeping , FFP3 level protection RPE being used and method statements and risk assessments prepared which covered dust controls.
Adverse findings included inadequate control measures when cutting roof tiles, ordinary non CE marked face masks being used for dust control and no RPE being used when coring concrete. Our analysis of how contractors’ had dealt with the risks from dusts on their sites showed that over 60% had analysed the risks correctly and taken the appropriate safety measures.
We used our social media channels to promote the campaign and greater awareness of occupational ill-health among construction workers. The topics promoted included the campaign launch, the role of the Construction Safety Partnership Committee in promoting better occupational health in construction, the adverse effects of silica dusts, manual handling hazards on site and occupational skin cancers. On our Facebook page we reached 41,241 people and on Twitter we reached 8,716 people.
Further Guidance on Occupational Health for Construction workers is available on the Authority website.”
Courtesy Of The Health & Safety Authority.