Do you feel confident that your business will pass an unexpected health and safety inspection?
If silica is a by-product of your manufacturing process, do you know the risks associated with your staff breathing in the substance?
Do you have the controls in place to keep those that rely on you safe?
Every year in Britain, 12,000 people die from lung diseases linked to past workplace exposure to hazardous substances. Each and every death in this statistic was entirely preventable should their risk exposure have been effectively controlled.
HSE Inspections Planned for October 2022
From October onwards, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors will be visiting businesses that use materials such as stone, rock, sand and clay in their manufacturing processes to check compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (COSHH). This includes:
- Brick and tile manufacturers
- Ceramics businesses
- Stone-working businesses
- Kitchen worktop manufacturers
Silica Dust and its Harmful Effects
Silica is a naturally occurring substance found in most stones, sand and clay. When such materials go through the manufacturing process, respirable crystalline silica (RCS) particles can become airborne, and thus breathed in by workers.
Silica is such a fine type of dust that it cannot be easily seen by the human eye. It might be small in size, but silica can have an enormous impact on your workers’ health, putting them at risk of developing the following lung diseases:
Silicosis – Developed after breathing in crystalline silica over an extended period of time, silicosis makes breathing difficult due to it creating swelling in the lungs which causes hardened or scarred lung tissue.
If symptoms continue to develop, those with silicosis may become bed-bound and the condition may even become fatal.
Silicosis also increases the risk of developing other conditions such as lung cancer, tuberculosis, heart failure, COPD and kidney disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - COPD is the name for a group of lung diseases, which includes chronic bronchitis (inflammation of the airways) and emphysema (damage to the air sacs in the lungs).
Causing persistent coughing, severe breathlessness and frequent chest infections, it is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and, as of 2019, the third leading cause of death globally.
With COPD, symptoms will continue to worsen over time, making daily activities increasingly difficult.
Lung cancer – Long-term exposure to crystalline silica can cause lung cancer – one of the most common yet serious cancer types. Around 47,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with this condition every year.
Due to lung cancer not usually having many noticeable symptoms until it has spread into other parts of the body, the outlook for the condition is not as good as many other types of cancer. Due to this, survival rates vary.
Reducing Silica Dust in the Workplace
Whilst all this sounds very panic-inducing – we’ve got you covered. At Dust Arrest, we are the dust management experts, offering a vast range of solutions for all businesses to combat any types of dust - whether that’s dust created at source, airborne dust or settled dust.
Managing Silica Dust Created at the Source and Settled Dust
For managing dust created at the source (before it becomes respirable), our range of innovative tool shrouds are a small investment that will have a significant impact.
These shrouds easily and universally fit onto most angle grinders and core drills, capturing any dust before it gets a chance to spread.
By fitting one of our tool shrouds to one of our H or M-class vacuum cleaners, you can be confident of almost all dust being effectively captured as soon as it is created.
Our vacuums also boast incredibly powerful suction and HEPA filters to effectively remove any settled dust around your workplace before it gets a chance to become airborne once more.
Managing Airborne Silica Dust
To maintain high-quality air throughout your workplace, there is nothing better than our innovative Dustblockers, which can achieve up to 95% dust reduction - 50% reduction within their first 30 minutes of use!
These incredibly quiet-running industrial air scrubbers have been designed to be able to run 24 hours a day, so you can breathe easy and be assured that with your Dustblocker running, your air will always be free of harmful dust to keep your workers safe.
Don’t Delay - Get in Touch Today
Act now to protect your workers from preventable fatal lung disease. Let us help you become HSE compliant.
For more information on construction dust and the implications of HSE fines, please click here.
To view the latest COSHH guidance on managing RCS in the workplace, follow the links for your industry below:
If you have any questions about anything we’ve mentioned in this blog - or you would like advice on any of our products - please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our helpful team either by either giving us a call on 0800 980 0105, dropping us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or accessing our contact form here.