Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS)

A recent bulletin from the Health and Safety Executive advises on the continued targeted respiratory health inspections in the workplace.

The exposure of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust is an on-going issue within the Construction industry and can lead to irreversible lung disease if breathed in over time.

Regularly breathing in this dust over a long time can cause irreversible, life-changing lung diseases. Such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Lung cancer.

Silica is a natural substance found in varying amounts in most stone, rocks, sand and clay.

Silica particles are produced when cutting into concrete such as concrete blocks roof tiles or chasing into brickwork.  Silica particles in airborne dust which are too small to be seen can cause these life changing diseases.

There is a legal duty for employers to prevent and adequately control, worker exposure to RCS dust.

Employers must provide information, training, carry out risk and method statements.

They must provide Personal Protective Equipment including any Respiratory Protective Equipment to reduce the hazards of airborne dusts.

Workers also have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at work. Workers must co-operate with their employers to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

Click HERE to read the HSE employee guide to find out how to control exposure to silica dust.

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