Occupational health risks need to be addressed in order to care for the health and wellbeing of the workforce.
It is no secret that construction workers are at a high risk of contracting lung disease from the work that they do.
In 2015, approximately 3,500 will die from cancer caused by past exposures to asbestos, 500 more from silica dust, another 5,500 will be diagnosed with occupational cancer, and – today alone – an unknown but significant number will breathe in the hazardous substances that will one day debilitate or kill them.
Most of these industrial diseases can be prevented – by recognising the real hazards, evaluating the risks of being exposed to them, and then effectively controlling those exposures.
Breathe Freely is a collaborative initiative, led by BOHS in partnership with Constructing Better Health, Land Securities, Mace and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Targeted at managers and site supervisors within the construction industry, the aim is to raise awareness of the problem, provide practical solutions through sharing of best practice and encouraging implementation of effective exposure control.
The hub of the initiative is the website (resource button below). Amongst other things, this provides fact sheets highlighting the main hazards, highest risks and preferred control options for all the key construction trades, as well as real on-site case studies showing actual situations and solutions.
It also encourages sign-up to HI Standard, the Worker Health Protection management standard. Developed specifically for the construction industry, this sets out good practice for managing health risks, to raise standards and keep them high.