HSE target construction sites on respiratory risks

More than 500 construction workers die from exposure to silica dust every year.1 That’s why in October, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are running a month-long inspection campaign targeting construction site measures to protect workers lungs from asbestos, silica and wood dust.

HSE inspectors will be looking for evidence that construction workers know the risks, are conscious that their work may create hazardous dust and have considered how the work could affect their health and those around them.

During the campaign, inspectors will be looking also for evidence to show that workers are:

  • Using the correct equipment
  • Correct water damping is happening
  • Dust extraction is being used
  • Correct masks and clothing are worn2
  • Face fit testing is undertaken and recorded

Health and safety requirements

If the HSE are not satisfied that the legal requirements are being met under the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) 2002 Regulations (Asbestos and lead have their own separate regulations) fines will be issued to those businesses which can even result in legal action.

Managing your construction risks

To make sure your responsibilities as an employer are being met, the HSE recommend you follow the Assess, Control and Review model to help protect against the risks from hazardous construction risks.3


  • Plan – your overall strategy
  • Identify – the health hazards linked to your work
  • Assess – the significance of hazards
  • Involve – workers in managing health risks


  • Prevent - risks before work starts
  • Control - any remaining risk
  • Train – workers


  • Supervise - workers
  • Maintain - controls
  • Monitor - controls to ensure they are effective
  • Act - to put any problems right


1 http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis36.pdf

2 https://www.ioshmagazine.com/article/hse-construction-blitz-doubles-down-respiratory-risks

3 http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/hazardous-substances/construction-dust.htm