HSE Target Fabrication Companies With New Inspection Programme
To coincide with World Asthma Day 2021, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been targeting businesses where employees undertake welding and use metalworking fluids to check that respiratory risks are being effectively managed in compliance with current regulations.
Continued exposure to harmful welding fumes and metalworking fluids can lead to debilitating conditions such as lung cancer and various lung diseases including occupational asthma and occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis (OHP).
In fact, last year alone, 12,000 people in the UK died of lung disease linked to past exposure at work, deaths that could’ve been prevented had the correct protection and protocols been in place.
What will they be looking for?
During the inspections, HSE inspectors will be expecting duty holders to demonstrate that there are measures in place to manage respiratory risks and that they’re keeping employees healthy and safe.
This will include providing evidence that both the employer and their employees know the risks and are using suitable controls when planning work to ensure the protection of everyone’s health. This may be proven in the evidence of training, proper respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and the use of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to reduce exposure.
Granted, the primary focus will be on risks for respiratory health, however inspectors will continue to look at other areas of potential concern such as ensuring the business is COVID-secure and will take the necessary action to see to it that all issues are dealt with.
Why are they focusing on respiratory health?
Clare Owen, HSE’s Acting Head of Manufacturing and Utilities Unit, said: “12,000 people died last year from lung diseases estimated to be linked to past exposure from work, with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost.
“Our inspection initiative aims to ensure employers and workers are aware of the risks associated with the activities they do. They must recognise these dangers and manage these risks through reducing exposure.”
How can I ensure my business is compliant?
The HSE has various resources on following welding fumes guidance and metalworking fluid guidance, offering advice on how to make sure your business is compliant.
Alternatively, you can get in touch to speak to one of our experts at Full Support Healthcare for more information, guidance and training.