BOHS Pushes for Silica Dust Protection
by Connor Burke
The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), a leading proponent for the protection of workers health have recently been highlighting the vital need for immediate and purposeful action to put a stop to illnesses and deaths caused by silica dust exposure.
After the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Respiratory Health inquiry on the risks of Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS), the group have responded by calling for improved controls in the prevention of the respiratory disease, silicosis which is caused by being exposed to silica dust.
The society have said that there isn’t enough currently being done about this issue. Currently 500 construction workers in the UK die from silicosis, with silica also being attributed to the approximate 4,000 deaths per year from COPD. The society believe that 75,000 cases per year are prevented if action was to be taken.
In their detailed response, the society have reviewed all potential opportunities to manage any risks from silica and also focusses on any chances to control and prevent any workplace risks. It also looks at any recent changes in the area of silica dust risk reduction such as managing and designing risks whilst monitoring exposure levels.
BOHS chief executive officer, Professor Kevin Bampton said, “The report highlights how the government can save lives quite literally with a stroke of the pen. At a time where we are wondering about health and social care costs and a labour shortage, it seems obvious that stopping people getting disabled and ill at work can save money and save lives.
“I am told that the latest HSE information from their construction dust campaign is reportedly showing that things are getting worse rather than better, with 4 out of 10 construction workers being exposed to cancer-causing levels of silica.”
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