Advice on preventing lung disease in construction workers to be offered at seminar

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Attendees will learn how to protect their workers from the risk of occupational respiratory diseases

Employers in the construction industry will get the chance to learn how to protect their workers from the risk of occupational respiratory diseases at a British Safety Council seminar, taking place in Cardiff city centre on the morning of May 20, 2015.

Kelvin Williams, an occupational hygienist, will explain how Breathe Freely – a new initiative led by BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection – aims to help construction employers raise awareness among staff of the risks of developing disabling and fatal diseases such as lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) due to exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos, silica and wood dust.

Kelvin, a consultant who specialises in protecting workers from exposure to hazardous substances, will tell delegates at the British Safety Council’s Sharing Good Practice seminar how construction managers can use the Breathe Freely factsheets to identify ways of protecting workers from exposure to harmful airborne substances – for example, through the use of on-tool extraction systems and respiratory equipment.

Kelvin said: “It’s no secret that construction workers are at high risk of contracting lung disease from the work that they do. In 2015, approximately 3,500 will die from occupational cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos, another 500 will die from exposure to silica dust and in addition, 5,500 new cases of occupational cancer will be reported.

“What is less well known is that there is a solution: most of these industrial diseases can be prevented – by recognising the real hazards, evaluating the risks of being exposed to them, and then effectively controlling those exposures (otherwise known as good occupational hygiene practice).

“As well as providing an insight into the new Breathe Freely campaign which BOHS is leading on – working in partnership with HSE, MACE, Constructing Better Health and Land Securities – I will provide some examples of the typical precautions construction employers can take to better protect their workers from the risks of developing lung diseases.”

The Sharing Good Practice seminar will take place at the Thistle Hotel in central Cardiff from 08:55 – 12:30 and is aimed at anyone responsible for ensuring the health and safety of people at work, in any industry or business sector. Expert speakers will address some current and pertinent topics around managing risks to health and safety at work, including tackling occupational health problems, improving safety culture and an update into recent developments in health and safety enforcement and prosecutions in England and Wales. As well as providing opportunities to question the speakers on issues of concern, there will be a lunch for networking and learning from other delegates from the health and safety field.

Joscelyne Shaw, acting director of policy and communications at the British Safety Council, who will be chairing the seminar, said: “With over 30 years’ experience in managing occupational health hazards in a range of industries, Kelvin Williams is well placed to highlight how construction employers can use the resources and advice offered by the Breathe Freely campaign to protect their staff from exposure to harmful airborne substances – such as asbestos fibres, brick and stone dust and fumes from chemical-based adhesives.

“Our Sharing Good Practice seminar is a great way to hear about some of the best ways of protecting employees from risks to their health and safety, to be inspired as well as find the support and insight that networking and conversing with peers can offer.

“Susan Wing, principal public health practitioner at Healthy Working Wales, will deliver a presentation on the key features of an effective health and wellbeing strategy at work, and the free advice available to businesses in Wales on how to protect and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their workforces.

“Sarah Cudmore, a work psychologist, will explain how to assess, improve and measure the success of your safety culture; and Paul Williams, Head of Safety at First Great Western, will provide ideas for engaging staff in tackling health and safety risks with his presentation on the transport company’s ‘Leading Safety 24/7’ initiative.

“Furthermore, with the Sentencing Council for England and Wales recently proposing higher fines for employers convicted of health and safety offences, Chris Green, partner at national law firm, Weightmans LLP, will give his verdict on what impact this will have for those businesses and individuals who fail to protect the health and safety of their employees and others.”

The morning event will consist of presentations, each followed by a question and answer session. There will be opportunities for networking during and afterwards.

The price per person is £95.00 + VAT for British Safety Council members, £125.00 + VAT for non-members.

The full event programme and booking form can be found at:

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