A little advanced warning based on an HSE Communication we recently received:
HSE CONSTRUCTION HEALTH INSPECTION INITIATIVE - 17 JUNE 2019
WHAT: Starting on 17 June, HSE will be carrying out its latest construction inspection initiative by visiting construction workplaces. This initiative will continue the focus on health, in particular the measures in place to protect workers from occupational lung disease caused by asbestos, silica, wood and other dusts when carrying out common construction tasks.
WHY: Priority is often given to safety but thousands more workers suffer ill-health at work than are harmed by at-work accidents. Asbestos and dust are ‘slow killers’. HSE estimates that annually there are around 8,000 work-related cancer deaths a year. The construction industry accounts for around 3,500 of these with asbestos and silica the major causes. Construction businesses and workers need to be aware of how dangerous and hazardous to someone’s health such substances can be.
Where poor standards are found, enforcement action will be taken.
It is a good idea to have arrangements in place in case of such a visit - e.g. sign the inspector into site. They should be offered a brief induction to the Site and then accompanied by your Site Manager/Site Supervisor. The relevant Company Manager overseeing the Site/Project should be notified of the visit as soon as possible. Do your best to co-operate with the Inspector’s requests but if you do not know the answer to a specific question be honest about this and offer to find out the answer at our earliest opportunity.
Expect an Inspector to be asking to see copies of Refurbishment Surveys for Asbestos Information, and that any works where dusts might be created are being controlled - e.g. with on-tool extraction, dust suppressants, screens to prevent spread, mechanical extraction/ventilation, and that suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is being worn correctly* for the dusts being created by the operative and anyone else in the immediate work area. Also for any clean up activities, the expectation will be that a vacuum cleaner (minimum M type Hepa filtered) or that any sweeping will only be done once dampened down.
If you would like advice on any of the above, please get in touch.