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February 2, 2009

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Campaign- Builders targeted in dust-danger drive

‘Clear the air’ draws attention to the dangers of inhaling respirable crystalline silica (known as silica dust, or RCS), which is found in stone dust and thus a hazard to those involved in cutting stone and concrete. It is easily inhaled and can lead to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and silicosis – a condition that can leave sufferers breathless and unable to undertake normal daily activities.

The multimedia campaign comprises a DVD, leaflets, and an online forum – http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/inovem/inovem.ti/kerbcutting.community – all explaining how construction workers can be protected from inhaling RCS. The campaign was produced in collaboration with the construction industry, and is supported by the Major Contractors Group and the hire industry, which, traditionally, has not provided dust-suppression kits with its machinery. The Highways Agency is spreading the word to its workers via a specially equipped ‘mobile classroom’, while precast concrete body Interpave has produced guidance on good practice and case studies – download them from www.paving.org.uk.

Campaign leader Dr Robert Ellis, from the HSE’s Chemicals Risk Management Unit, said he was encouraged by industry’s response to the campaign but pointed out that reaching small businesses remains an important goal. He said: “[We] want to make sure we’re reaching everyone, so we’re asking all those in construction to become better informed.”

To obtain a free copy of the DVD and/or leaflets, call the HSE on 0151 951 5828.

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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