Builders' Merchants News

HSE targets merchants

Published:  27 August, 2009

LONDON: The Health and Safety Executive is to establish links with builders merchants and hire shops in support of its campaign to raise awareness among contractors of silica and the need for control measures.

The campaign is one of several new health and safety initiatives planned for the year announced by the HSE's chief construction inspector.

Estimates indicate more than 500 construction workers died of lung cancer in 2004 and even more were suffering from silicosis.

Robert Ellis, at the HSE's chemical risk management unit, said that although awareness is growing among larger companies, many smaller firms are still uninformed. "Reaching smaller businesses such as the one or two-man bands remains an important goal," he said.

"Anyone, no matter how big or small the company, can request information and will provide it for free," he said.

Silicosis is a type of lung disease caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust, found in stones and concrete, and can leave victims unable to perform daily activities and dependent on bottled oxygen.