The HSE’s ‘Dustbuster Belt’
In June 2019, the HSE announced that they’re tightening their ‘dustbuster’ belts on businesses to assess how well they’re protecting workers from dust exposure in the workplace. The new ‘dustbuster’ campaign aims to raise awareness to both workers and employers of the life-changing/threatening health risks that dust exposure in the workplace can cause.
As part of the ‘dustbuster’ campaign, HSE announced that their inspectors will be visiting food manufacturing, woodworking and construction businesses up and down the country to assess if employers and workers know of the health risks involved, if they’re planning their work safely and if they’re using the right controls to minimise dust. One such example of an appropriate measure is wood dust extraction.
HSE has also created a selection of ‘selfie cards’ that are free to download for employers and workers to show their support and get involved, which can be downloaded here.
The broader message the HSE are communicating with employers and workers is just how dangerous dust exposure and inhalation can be. The HSE state: “Each year, there are 12,000 lung disease deaths, 2,595 mesothelioma deaths with a similar number of lung cancer deaths, linked to past exposure of harmful substances breathed in at work.”
The ‘dustbuster’ campaign follows on from the release of new COSHH Essential guidance sheets that were released prior to the ‘dustbuster’ campaign. The new guidance gives clear exposure guidance for specific working processes that are commonly undertaken in the workplace, read the full update here.
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