Within many sectors throughout the manufacturing industry, there is a wide range of activities, products and processes that involve or generate high levels of potentially lethal dust or fume. If exposure to these is not monitored, regulated and controlled, then they can cause extremely serious health risks, illnesses and even death.
The extent of the problem?
Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) kills 12,000 UK workers every year. There are 18,000 new cases each year caused or exacerbated by work, and 400,000 working days are lost per year as a result. Specific examples of the types of serious conditions that are particularly prevalent within the manufacturing industry include silicosis from silica dust, nasal cancer and asthma from wood dust, lung cancer form both mild and stainless steel welding fume, and asthma and other forms of lung damage from metalworking fluid mist.
As part of their response to addressing this issue, the HSE has developed an inspection programme that will be rolled-out over the next year. This will assess the cross-sector management arrangements in place to prevent and control the risk of workers’ exposure to these hazards. The programme is designed to form part of a “long-term intervention aimed at delivering sustained cross-industry improvements in the control and management of risk”. [Manufacturing Sector Work Plan 2019-20: Occupational Long Disease (OLD) caused by