GMC Utilities Group are delighted to partner with the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) for Construction Safety week which runs from Monday 21st to Friday 25th October.
Today’s focus, on the final day of the safety week, is Working Safely with Hazardous Substances.
Many workers are exposed to hazardous substances whilst at work. According to EU-OSHA, the industry sectors with high prevalence of dangerous substances include agriculture (62%), manufacturing (52%) and construction (51%). If uncontrolled, these substances may potentially impact on a worker’s health and contribute to either acute or long-term health problems (e.g. skin irritation, respiratory diseases and cancer) or safety risks in the form of a chemical reaction, fire, explosion or suffocation.
Where concrete, stone or sand-based materials are altered (during formation, cutting, drilling, polishing or demolition) and made airborne, there is a potential for exposure to crystalline silica dust. Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) occurs when these materials are worked on to release a very fine, inhalable dust. When any dust is inhaled, its point of deposition within the respiratory system is very much dependent upon the range of particle sizes present in the dust. The respirable fraction (smallest particle size) of crystalline silica dust can penetrate deep into the lungs. Elimination and substitution of RCS containing materials, dust extraction and/or dust suppression are the primary measures advised to control potential exposure.
GMC will be delivering TBT’s across all projects on Working Safely with Hazardous Substances with a particular focus on Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) and the correct use of RPE/dust suppression when using cutting equipment on site