Become a ‘sung hero’ by protecting workers from silica dust
Friday 3rd June 2016
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
The message came during the first in a new series of joint presentations by the institution, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as part of IOSH's No Time to Lose campaign to raise awareness of occupational cancer.
Members of the IOSH Midland Branch were told of the health risks related to exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), the role of occupational hygiene in protecting workers and provided with practical advice and guidance on controlling exposure.
John Lacey, a former IOSH president, spoke about the institution's efforts to work with professionals, businesses and other organisations to cast a spotlight on silica dust through No Time to Lose.
He said: "I've been involved in construction and safety and health for two-thirds of my life and silica has always been an issue, but little known as regards its effects.
"There's been a cross-industry approach to tackling this vast issue. You (IOSH members) are very much involved in carrying IOSH's campaign and its messages forward.
"It is a great opportunity for you to not be the unsung heroes, but 'sung' heroes who are working to stop people from suffering the ill-effects of breathing in silica dust."
As well as causing breathing problems such as silicosis, research has shown that around 800 people in Britain a year die from lung cancer caused by prolonged exposure to RCS at work, with 900 new cases being diagnosed annually.
Dr Sean Mahar, of BOHS, emphasised the need for practitioners to recognise, evaluate and control the risks.
He said: "Silica is ubiquitous. Trying to see where the potential of a problem exists is an important part of our work.
"The important bit then is to be able to evaluate that and offer control solutions."
Examples of good and bad practice around silica dust exposure were highlighted by Mark Flynn of the HSE.
He said it was important that professionals "don't jump to the end" of the hierarchy of control by simply offering workers dust masks or other respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to wear while working with products which contain silica.
"There is a lot you can do before reaching for RPE -- design out the risk, substitute products used, use engineering controls and water suppression, or on-tool and localised extraction of dust. Think about all of these things before RPE," he said.
"Controlling dust is a difficult sell at times because it is not like a safety hazard -- a broken ladder or missing guard -- that is an instant thing. People might not realise that this is a health issue that is 20 to 30 years in the making."
The presentation, entitled 'Working together to beat occupational cancer -- spotlight on silica', was provided for IOSH Midland Branch members at a meeting in Birmingham on 2 June.
Branch Chair, Mohammed Basharat, said: "Whatever else comes from hearing the presentations, the one thing I want our members to take away is that they are not tackling this issue alone.
"There are so many people out there working in safety, health and wellbeing and we are all trying to protect workers. The fact we had three organisations come together and share their expertise with us is fantastic."
The stand will include a theatre, where presentations will focus on topics such as implementing ISO 45001, the latest on IOSH’s framework and No Time to Lose campaign, and information for members on updating their CPD and IPD.The expo is being held at London Excel from 21-23 June. As well as the theatre, IOSH staff will be on hand to offer advice on all things related to occupational safety and health.
IOSH representatives and other experts and policymakers from across Europe will inform debate during a conference to be staged as part of the Netherlands’ presidency of the EU Council.The Netherlands’ Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment will host the ‘Preventing work-related cancer, conference on carcinogens’ conference at the Europe Building, Amsterdam, between 23-25 May, with the aim of highlighting existing and new insights into the issue.
Today, (Monday 20 June) the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that lays out a programme of joint activities to create safer, healthier and more sustainable workplaces in the countries where the EBRD invests. Under the MoU, IOSH and the EBRD will work together to influence policy and practice in occupational safety and health. They will also jointly seek to improve safety and health standards at industry level.
It was the first time the roundtables had been held as part of the institution’s annual conference. About 100 people attended the eight concurrent sessions. Updates on the progress of ISO 45001, the impact of the new sentencing guidelines, and crisis management were among the themes.
The trainees’ efforts to standardise the storage of chemicals at the RNLI All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset, has led them to be named this year’s winner of the IOSH South Coast Branch Apprentices Safety Awards.They referred to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and their recommendations led to the installation of new cabinets, signage and the creation of new data sheets to improve record-keeping.
More than 500 people have already secured their place at IOSH 2016, including senior safety and health professionals from Network Rail, Airbus Group, Mace, Travis Perkins, Tesco, American Eagle Outfitters and Dixons Carphone.The conference is being held at ExCeL London from 21-22 June. It will be opened by IOSH president Dr Karen McDonnell. Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward will be among keynote speakers, while TV and radio journalist Tanya Beckett will chair the event.
A SCUBA equipment supply company has been fined £9,300 and ordered to pay £11,000 costs after providing a diving school with contaminated air that led to children being taken so ill during a training session that one ended up in an induced coma.