Don’t let the problem of dust settle – take action today

Don't let the problem of dust settle

Dust kills – and people working in the construction industry are being urged to take important steps to help protect themselves from the dangers.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) many construction workers are becoming ill – and dying – after exposure from substances including silica, wood dust and asbestos, which continues to be a huge problem more than 20 years after its use was outlawed in new buildings in the UK.

This week the HSE has launched a new campaign aimed at carrying out inspections on site and raising awareness of the risks.

In this blog we’ll explore the issues and explain how the team at Acorn Safety Services can help.

Tackling the problem of dust

For people working in the construction industry exposure to dust is common.

Silica is naturally present in a wide range of materials including sand and clay, as well as many building materials including bricks, tiles and concrete.

Everyday tasks including cutting and grinding create dust which can then be inhaled if the correct precautions haven’t been taken.  Similarly, exposure to wood dust is an occupational hazard for carpenters and joiners.

Over a long period of time exposure can lead to a number of chronic health conditions including asthma and some cancers, including mesothelioma which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

In a bid to counteract the problem, Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) have been introduced to minimise the amount of time workers can spend in these environments. For example, the WEL for hardwood is 3mg/m3 in any eight hour period while the WEL for silica dust is just 0.1mg/m3. If the correct guidance is followed the amount of dust any worker is exposed to should be minimal.

Dust exposure: Taking the right precautions

Stopping dust being released into the air is important, so damping down or using air extraction can be particularly beneficial.

As well as adhering to the correct rules and regulations around exposure to dust, there are some important, practical steps all employers should take to help minimise the risks.

It’s also vital to wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks. These should be worn correctly and at all times while working in dusty environments.

For those working on construction sites, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) apply. These state that work must only be carried out by those with the correct skills, training and experience and that everyone on site must comply with the health and safety procedures.

How Acorn Safety Services can help you

We work with businesses across the UK, supporting them with all their health and safety needs. We are specialists in CDM, working alongside teams on construction sites to ensure all staff are safe and protected.

Over the years we have worked alongside some of the biggest names in the UK including Bovis Construction, London Midlands Trains, HSBC Data Centres, BP, British Gypsum, Heathrow Airport and Taylor Woodrow.

All of the health and safety and CDM services we provide are fully certified, giving you complete reassurance in the quality, standards and expertise you can expect from our company – and our staff.

As well as being an overarching health and safety and CDM consultancy we also specialise in fire risk assessments and legionella testing, both of which need to be carried out regularly.

We also offer a full asbestos service – helping to identify if your property has it and supporting with a full management process if it does.

For more information about us and the services we offer visit

For all your health and safety needs visit today or contact us at or on 01604 930380.

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