HSE crack down on hazard control in manufacturing
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 asthmagens, carcinogens and Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS), in manufacturing industries, HSE 2019]
What will inspections cover?
During their inspections, the HSE will be looking for any matters of evident concern (MEC), as well as any matters of potential major concern (MPMC). Through the inspections, their main objective is to:
"ensure the risks are adequately controlled and properly managed, to reduce the incidence of serious health effects from exposure to them and to make a real difference to worker's lives. We will deal with the underlying causes of poor risk control, i.e. failures in health and safety management arrangements...[and] adequate monitoring arrangements to ensure preventative and control measures are effective."
Sectors and areas of particular concern include:
The key questions that inspectors will asking during their site visits include:
Inspection outcomes and penalties
On identification of levels of dust and fume which they believe are not being adequately controlled, and are deemed to pose a risk of a serious health effect, the HSE will consider or impose any enforcement or non-compliance measures they feel to be necessary – particularly "where there is evidence of widespread poor control or failure to sustain compliance". [Manufacturing Sector Work Plan 2019-20, HSE]
Managing and monitoring risk and ensuring HSE compliance
At RVT, we offer a comprehensive range of products designed to ensure levels of fume and dust generated on site are monitored and effectively managed and controlled. Our hazard control solutions will ensure that any hazardous levels of dust and fume are filtered and extracted safely away, so that workers are not exposed to unsafe airborne contaminants, and that COSHH guidelines are followed, and full HSE compliance is ensured at all times.
RVT's full range of fume, dust and hazard monitoring solutions:
Click here to see our full dust control product range
Find out more about our full range of fume control equipment
Click here to identify the best ventilation for your site from our unique range of equipment, including high-powered fans, ventilation ducting, and air filters
Visit our site monitoring page to find out about comprehensive dust monitoring for on-site peace of mind
Click here for further details of the HSE occupational lung disease inspection programme