Are you aware of the ‘Breathe Freely’ initiative in the workplace?

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The British Occupational Hygiene Society is promoting ‘Breathe Freely’ in partnership with the Health & Safety Executive. The initiative is aimed at promoting standards of monitoring and maintaining the potential risks and hazards of being exposed to breathing in work based hazards such as asbestos or silica dust.

This is particularly true of construction workers, who are at high risk of contracting lung disease from the work that they do. In a typical year, it is estimated that approximately 3,500 people will die from occupational cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos, another approximately 500 will die from exposure to silica dust and in addition, 5,500 new cases of occupational cancer will be reported.

There are of course other potential hazards, that if breathed in can cause harm to both short and long term health. You should be especially vigilant if you work with:

■ isocyanates;
■ flour/grain dust;
■ glutaraldehyde;
■ wood dusts;
■ soldering flux;
■ latex;
■ laboratory animals;
■ some glues, resins.

In the past, these hazards have been poorly managed, and in many cases not recognised as a likely hazard. 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.

At Safety First Group, we are experts in the monitoring and identification of potential exposure to harmful substances or hazardous dust. This will ensure that you are compliant with company law and also reduce the likelihood of potentially future legal action against your business.

The HSE has recognised via the Breathe Freely campaign that careful management of potentially hazardous substances and dust is crucial as part of an all encompassing health and safety management program.

To learn more about the management and monitoring, please visit http://www.safetyfirstgroup.co.uk/services/occupational-exposure-monitoring/ or for more information, please call 0845 004 2133 or email enquiries@safetyfirstgroup.co.uk.