The HSE has announced they have started targeting manufacturing businesses that use materials containing silica for inspection across England, Wales, and Scotland this autumn and winter.
Inspectors are aiming to ensure the risks associated with respirable crystalline silica (RCS) are being managed effectively to protect workers' health. Over time, workers exposed to RCS dust can develop lung disease if appropriate safety measures are not in place to prevent it being breathed in. However, even breathing in small amounts can cause lung damage.
Silica is often present in products such as bricks and concrete, and is found naturally occurring in most rocks, stone, sand, and clay. Those businesses being targeted by the HSE include brick and tile manufacturers, foundries, and stone workers.
Businesses working with silica can manage the risks of RCS dust by:
Using local exhaust ventilation
Damping down the dust
Using respirators (where appropriate) that have been face fit tested
Checking equipment regularly and ensuring it is well maintained
Educating employees about the risks and how to protect themselves
All Health Matters can offer face fit testing and lung function testing as part of your silica health and safety strategy. Speak to our team about your needs now.