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Dust breaches up 23% on construction sites

9 Dec 20 The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported a 23% rise in the number of dust breaches occurring on construction sites as summer turned to autumn.

BSG’s report was based on 9,000 independent site inspections conducted over a six month period from June to November 2020. Two periods were compared which revealed the increase. Between June and August there were 209 infringements recorded; between September and November 2020 there were 258 infringements.

The most common types of breach found included ‘failure to set up effective dust suppression and extraction procedures on site’.

‘Not having dust masks face-fit tested’ was also a common violation recorded by BSG advisers.

With thousands of construction workers contracting or dying from respiratory diseases due to breathing in dust and fumes, managing and controlling exposure to dust has long been a priority for the industry.

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BSG managing director Stephen Bell said: “Construction workers have a high risk of developing these diseases because many common construction tasks can create high dust levels. Work-related cancers, mainly linked to asbestos and silica, are estimated to kill 3,500 people from the industry every year. Thousands of others suffer life-changing illnesses from their work.

“Our advice is to always look at ways of stopping or reducing the amount of dust before the job is started. For example, different materials could be used, less powerful tools or other work methods. Once these controls have been put in place, it is of course vital to check that they are working properly and effectively.”

The Building Safety Group (BSG) is a not for profit organisation set up by construction companies to provide health & safety training and consultancy services for the building industry. It has more than 800 members throughout the UK operating across 3,500 workplaces. BSG conducts more than 21,000 site inspections every year and delivers training to more than 10,000 people.

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