Breathe Freely, London
Following on from a successful Edinburgh event in November, the last BOHS Breathe Freely breakfast workshop took place in London at the beginning of December. Once again, we were proud to be the sole sponsor of this event which focused on occupational lung disease within the construction industry.
Breathe Freely is a BOHS initiative, aimed at reducing UK instances of occupational lung disease – the cause of significant debilitating ill-health and an estimated 13,000 deaths per year.
The roadshows are about raising awareness both of the problem and how to do something about it: we can protect workers' health and prevent most of these diseases and deaths. It is not just 'the right thing to do', it is good for business as well. And broad acceptance of this is part of the solution.*
It was fantastic to see such good attendance from a number of constructions companies, contractors and individuals. Our Southern Sales Team Leader, Cameron Hicks, comments on his key take-outs:
"Within the construction industry, for every one person that dies from a safety accident on site, 100 people die from a health-related disease.
"Contractors are still placing PPE and RPE as the first line of defence, when this is the last line of defence. Engineering controls and administrative controls should be taking precedence."
But education within the construction industry remains critical.
Educating all staff, both in the office and on site, to firstly understand the long-term impact of uncontrolled health hazards on site. And then to know what resources and guidance are available to them in order to implement vital changes that will help protect the health of all workers and persons near to those hazard-creating sites.
In closing, Cameron comments, "There are definite improvements that have, and are, being made in the industry. It's encouraging to see such a strong commitment from so many to make improvements with the 'health' side of health and safety.
"Together we can make a difference."