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Calls Made for Parliament to Prevent ‘Next Asbestos’

Calls Made for Parliament to Prevent ‘Next Asbestos’

A group of MPs are calling for the government to take action to protect construction workers from the preventable illness silicosis, a chronic lung disease contracted by the inhalation of silica dust. Typically the condition develops after prolonged exposure, but some are affected sooner.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health have said that more should be done to take on the problem of silica dust before it becomes the “next asbestos”. In their new report ‘Silica – the next asbestos?’, they make a number of recommendations to improve this situation. A key proposal would be to halve the legal exposure limit in the workplace, taking it down 0.1mg per metre cubed to 0.05mg per metre cubed; bringing it in line with a 2003 recommendation from the scientific committee on occupation exposure limits.
Another suggestion made was to introduce health and safety regulations specifically for controlling respirable crystalline silica, giving employers the tools to understand the level of exposure their workers are facing.
Having worked with the All Party Group, B&CE’s director of policy Gregg McClymont, said: “The aim of this report is to start a long-overdue conversation between government, parliament, health bodies and the construction industry about how to tackle silicosis; an entirely preventable, often fatal, condition.”

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