HSE research estimates that, each year, 500 people die from silica-related diseases, while 4,000 die of COPD linked to work. Construction workers are most at risk due to the dust that they breathe.
Many construction jobs create large amounts of dust, which scientific studies have linked to these significant risks:
• Death due to heart or lung disease, including cancer, silicosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
• Non-fatal heart attacks
• Irregular heartbeat
• Aggravated asthma
• Decreased lung function
• Increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the
airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.
• Nasal cancer
• Systemic poisoning
Health effects resulting from exposure to dust may become obvious only after long-term exposure.