RVT’s ‘Action on Dust Summit’ generates a huge turnout
RVT's inaugural 'Action on Dust' summit took place at London's BMA House on the 6th June, attracting site managers, health and safety managers, directors of construction companies and many other influential figures from across the building industry. RVT set up the event to foster collaboration between high-calibre construction professionals and to enact meaningful change to protect workers from the dangers of dust on site. The summit was set up in support of both the HSE's Go Home Healthy Campaign and BOHS's Breathe Freely initiative, but was also well-timed ahead of the HSE Construction Health Inspection Initiative due to commence on 17th June 2019.
Construction site dust can contain hazardous substances such as silica and this means that regular building and demolition tasks can lead to diseases such as lung cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unless preventative and protective measures are taken. The HSE estimates that over 13,000 deaths each year are linked to past exposure at work to chemicals or dust. RVT wants to radically reduce this number by encouraging safer working practices. RVT's Julian Hayward comments that 'awareness is simply not enough; action needs to be taken.'
To reinforce this message, the summit saw a number of stimulating talks from across the health and safety spectrum. David Fishwick, Chief Medical Advisor at HSE spoke about the serious consequences of silica dust inhalation. Jennie Armstrong, Head of Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Tideway London presented Tideway's approach to health and wellbeing. Additionally, in her capacity as representative of BOHS, she also discussed the successes of the Breathe Freely Campaign. Rachel Butler, Head of Health, Safety, Sustainability and Quality at DeTrafford gave an engaging presentation about preventative measures and monitoring.
RVT's Kevin Dupont presented a comprehensive paper covering the principles of effective dust control including the importance of the use of enclosures and adequate filtering. This CPD approved seminar was well attended by delegates, each of whom received a one-hour CPD certificate. A key message throughout the whole event was the need to take action now, to make changes to processes and processes to protect people's long-term health and ultimately, their lives. Many delegates recognised the need to do more in establishing comprehensive control measures across a whole work environment to ensure that health hazards were mitigated as far as possible.
Fittingly, the conference took place at BMA House in Tavistock Square – the home to the headquarters of the British Medical Association. The event commenced with a tasty free breakfast to set the attendees up for a day of inspiring discussion and presentations. The summit closed with a lively group session, led by Julian Hayward in which delegates brainstormed positive actions to take back to their respective organisations that would assist the drive towards ever-safer construction. The event was very well-received and attendees left with delegate packs including flyers, posters and other useful information provided by BOHS and HSE.
RVT's events team was thrilled with the event's popularity – registration was open for just two weeks before becoming fully booked with 150 registrants. This unprecedented interest has encouraged the team to look to organise more health hazard conferences in the future. If you are interested in registering or in finding out more, please call 0808 178 3286.
If you'd like to see the highlights of our June 2019 Action on Dust summit, the footage will be available to watch shortly.