Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 26 July 2019.

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Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps have been taken to encourage the construction industry to protect workers from exposure to silica.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Protecting construction workers from exposure to silica has been a priority for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for a number of years. During this time, HSE has used a range of approaches to influence the construction industry. These include:

  • Providing tailored advice, information and guidance on HSE’s website about complying with the law in this area;
  • Raising awareness through HSE social media presence as well as engaging with industry through mechanisms such as the Construction Dust Partnership and the Health in Construction Leadership Group;
  • Undertaking research with the industry to increase the evidence base available;
  • Carrying out targeted inspections. This includes a national inspection initiative undertaken between 17th June 2019 – 12th July 2019 that focussed on silica and other dusts in the construction industry. This will be repeated in October 2019;
  • Taking enforcement action where appropriate to prevent ill-health and hold law-breakers to account.

Silica exposure amongst construction workers will continue to be a priority for HSE while it remains a significant issue. HSE will look to evolve the intervention approaches it uses during this period to maximise its influence.

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