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Construction: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that construction work in urban areas does not increase respiratory risks to shielded people in those areas.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what reports he has received of brick dust affecting the respiratory functioning of people located near to construction sites during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government has emphasised that people’s health is the top priority. We have been clear that construction work can continue in England if it is undertaken in a manner consistent with the guidelines issued by Public Health England. We have also published bespoke guidance to help those who work in outdoor environments, including construction workers, to understand how to work safely at this time.

The Health and Safety Executive has set out that dust from construction work does not usually pose a health risk to members of the public if the exposure is low and the duration is short. If high exposure and longer duration is likely, controls have been adopted to protect the workforce on a construction site; these are also likely to reduce the risk to members of the public. These controls include the use of low-dust products, as well as the use of water suppression or exhaust ventilation.

The Government is not aware of specific instances of brick dust affecting the respiratory functioning of people located near to construction sites during the Covid-19 outbreak.

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