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If you work in construction, the thought of dust particles being a risk to your health may never cross your mind. But you should be mindful that dust particles are in fact hazardous to people who work in construction regularly.
Breathing in construction dust from tasks such as drilling and sanding can cause an array of diseases from asthma to lung cancer and from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to silicosis.
COPD is a major cause of disability and in some cases it can be fatal. It is the term to describe a number of breathing problems where there is damage to the breathing tubes and air sacs within the lungs.
Silicosis is a condition that derives from respirable crystalline silica (RCS) found in stone, rocks, sands and clays. Prolonged exposure to RCS can cause fibrosis (hardening or scarring) of the lung tissue and consequently loss of lung function.
Employers have a duty of care to protect their employees whilst they work and that includes providing adequate safety equipment for the task at hand. If employers don’t adhere to such requirements, they are liable to be breaking health and safety law.
In construction and other environments where employees are exposed to dust and liable to breathe it in, employers should provide respiratory protective equipment. This can include disposable and reusable masks, breathing apparatus and powered respirators.
Both employers and employees should also reduce the risk of dust causing harm by taking safety measures such as the wet technique. This is when water is put onto the area being cut or drilled to suppress the dust that would normally be created if it was dry when being cut or drilled.
Another technique to reduce the risk of breathing in harmful dust is using a vacuum to collect dust when clearing your work area. This way, dust isn’t going back into the air as it would if you simply brushed it away.
Although these techniques reduce the risk of employees breathing in dust, they don’t eliminate it so you should still wear respiratory protective equipment as an extra safety measure.
Claims Direct have personal injury solicitors who specialise in work accident compensation on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you have been exposed to harmful dust whilst at work because you weren’t supplied with adequate safety equipment by your employer, call us on freephone 0808 175 7900 or start your claim online and we will be happy to help you.
Claims Direct is a trading name of Slater and Gordon UK Limited, a company registered in England & Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 125 446 327, registered office 50/52 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1HL and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for insurance mediation activity.