Arco fully supports the inquiry’s conclusions, particularly those recommendations focussed on raising awareness of the issues of silica exposure and the call for increased resources for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in order to support its capacity to enforce the regulations and help reduce incidents of ill-health and fatalities.
Arco believes that there is no safe level of exposure to harmful dust particles. The only safe exposure limit is zero but Arco appreciates that this is not always achievable so supports the recommendation of a reduction in the working exposure limit to 0.05mg/m3.Responsibility for education and control measures should be with the employer and monitoring equipment must be more widely used in order to evaluate the risk. The company welcomes the recommendation to make silicosis notifiable through Public Health England, thereby creating a compulsory national silicosis register in order to aid in realising and assessing the true scale of the problem.
As a specialist in PPE, Arco is fully supportive of the report’s recommendations for HSE to introduce compulsory requirements for the effective use of masks, dust extraction and water suppression, along with annual reporting of inspection and compliance levels. While, where possible, PPE should always be a last resort, its correct usage is vital.
Following today’s launch event in the Houses of Parliament, Adam Willcock, Arco’s PPE Category Manager, said: “Respiratory illness is the cause of death and disability for many people but it is often preventable. Construction sites are known to generate high dust levels and workers are often breathing in excessive levels of harmful particles, particularly silica dust.We have long campaigned to raise awareness of this issue, working with our industry bodies and partners. We now urge the Government to act on this report and make a real difference to so many lives.”