BOHS Breathe Freely Roadshow
4th November marked the return of the Breathe Freely Roadshow, run by the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection. And continuing our successful support of the last Breathe Freely event, RVT was proud to be sole sponsor yet again.
The Breathe Freely event is quite unique. It's one where industry peers join forces for a single purpose: To control exposures to prevent occupational lung disease in the construction industry.
Latest statistics released by the HSE show that 13,000 deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposures at work, primarily to chemicals or dusts. There are 14,000 estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems annually, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey. And around 1.3 million people suffer from a work-related illness.
Raising awareness and providing solutions are of paramount importance, in order to reduce the number of people becoming affected.
This event was just as successful as the first, and was attended by many concerned professionals who were keen to listen to presentations from industry experts. One such presentation was from Jane Beckmann of HSE on common failings and how to control them. Another was from RVT's Vernon Harrington, who presented the principles of effective dust control on site, with practical illustrations on how this can be achieved.
Another speaker, Simon Clark, gave a particularly thought-provoking presentation. Simon is a mesothelioma sufferer. His message was simple – how urgently the industry needs to share the wealth of information there is available, and start educating site workers immediately.
As before, the event closed with an open group discussion. What struck everyone most from this session, was the need for everyone to be prepared. From subcontractors and principal contractors, up to the clients themselves. Setting allowances within budget proposals for effective control of health related hazards.
Sharon Brunt, the BOHS organiser, commented "Over 65 delegates attended to support and hear the latest in construction worker health, in particular in dealing with hazards which cause respiratory disease.
Speakers on the day from HSE, BOHS, ISG Lead Survey and RVT Group spoke about why ill-health is an issue for construction workers, and what we can do to better protect their health, with some real practical solutions being presented. There were some interesting questions from the floor, including one about designers, about what we can do to ensure they are designing out hazards in the first place.
The feedback from the event was extremely positive, and the passion and engagement of people in the room is a great sign that there is a real desire to step up and raise standards across the industry."
These Breathe Freely events are a must-attend for anyone within this industry. We will continue to support them, and urge all those responsible for the health and safety of site workers to ensure that 'health' is not overlooked.