Group reports 23% rise in number of dust breaches on construction sites


THE Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported a 23% rise in the number of dust breaches occurring on construction sites.

The increase is detailed in a BSG report 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. This was set against 258 non-compliances that were catalogued between September and November 2020.

The most common types of breach identified included ‘failure to set up effective dust suppression and extraction procedures on site’ and ‘not having dust masks face fit tested’.

The report coincides with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) recent month-long initiative inspecting respiratory risks and occupational lung disease in the construction sector. The primary focus was to identify what measures had been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from asbestos, silica and wood dust.

BSG’s MD, Stephen Bell, commented, “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.”