The Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE) is currently focusing on its Go Home Healthy campaign. This campaign has been developed to raise awareness of the risks to health that workers across many industries in the UK face on a daily basis. Their focus is to get each and every trades-person home in a fit and healthy state at the end of every single day.
Each year 12,000 workers die from lung diseases caused by inhaling dust, gasses, vapours and fumes within their workplace. This number is 12,000 deaths too many each year! On top of this, there are an estimated 18,000 new cases annually of lung-related illnesses. This results in 400,000 lost working days within the UK each year.
There are a number of high-risk areas which are most likely to cause workers to develop long-term lung diseases. These are:
- Construction (cutting, drilling and sanding)
- Cement and concrete manufacturing
- Baking and milling
- Quarry work
Employers have a responsibility to ensure the standards of working conditions for their employees are safe and in line with current health and safety regulations. This means they must ensure that alternative processes can be implemented, less hazardous materials may be available, there is effective ventilation in areas where potentially health-threatening materials are in use and that protective equipment may be readily available, but ideally as a last resort only.
The effects of exposure to the hazardous substances not only include long-term health issues, but also terminal diseases. HSE statistics show the breakdown of annual deaths caused by lung-related diseases:
- Asbestos related Lung Cancer – 20%
- Mesothelioma – 20%
- Non-asbestos related Lung Cancer – 23%
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – 33%
- Other – 5%
So what can you do to help? The first step is quite simple – help spread awareness to everyone within the industry. The HSE is running a campaign through twitter; #WorkRight, and on Facebook; Go Home Healthy. They also offer a downloadable campaign pack to help everyone get involved.
For further information and to discuss Health and Safety services or any worries or concerns you may have, please call THSP Risk Management on 03456 122 144 for a confidential discussion, or visit us at www.thsp.co.uk