A month-long campaign run by the Health and Safety Executive to raise awareness of lung diseases caused by workplace dust is being backed by insulation specialist Actis, whose products are famously irritant-free.
The campaign, which runs throughout October, is aimed at protecting workers from the long -term effects of dust inhalation and highlighting different ways of working.
The campaign’s hard-hitting slogan is aimed at hammering the message home to employers. “Dust, it can kill. Not today, but years down the line.”
The HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Sarah Jardine, says building workers are around a hundred times more likely to die from a disease caused or exacerbated by their workplace than through a construction accident.
“We want businesses and their workers to think of the job from start to finish and avoid creating dust by working in different ways to keep dust down and wear the right protective equipment,” she said.
Using power tools, sweeping and working with products such as gypsum and wood are among activities which can be extremely harmful, without protection, say HSE experts.
Insulation specialist Actis says one change which could help is to switch from using traditional, solid insulation products which create dust when cut to those which generate no irritants or dust whatsoever.
Users of Actis’ flexible honeycomb insulation Hybris and insulating vapour control and breather membranes H Control Hybrid, Boost R Hybrid and Boost R Hybrid Roof say their cleanliness and complete absence of dust is precisely one of the reasons they use them.
A man whose coach house renovation was the subject of a George Clarke TV programme chose Actis in part because of its cleanliness.
Adrian Neaves explained: “I chose Actis rather than any other form of insulation for a number of reasons. One is the U-value, which is excellent. And I wanted it to be quick, clean, and easy to install. I didn’t need to wear a mask as there was no dust, and it was easy to cut and fit.”
And Northamptonshire builder Chris Brooks, who has been using Actis for the past 17 years says: “I love using Actis Hybrid. It’s so easy to use, incredibly clean and there’s no dust. I always love it when an architect specifies Actis. And in fact, if they specified PIR board instead I’d encourage them to look at the benefits of Actis. It’s so much nicer to use when you’re installing it.”
The fact that there’s no need for specialist PPE or masks and it only requires a saw or a hand operated cutter to trim it are some of the reasons builders return to Actis again and again.
The HSE campaign focuses on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease and looks at the measures businesses can take to protect their workers’ lungs from certain materials.