Saturday, 10 March 2012

Silica dust and mechanical solutions

As silica dust is such an emotive topic for HSE and its inspectors, it is vital that operators working in circumstances where any amount of dust is generated should wear suitable RPE to prevent future breathing and chest problems as well potential prosecutions under H&S legislation.
It should always be remembered that the issue of PPE and RPE is regarded by HSE as a last resort. Other more engineering based protection systems should be considered first, long before an employer arrives at the decision as to what PPE and RPE to issue to his or her employees. However, some work related tasks are simply not suited to the use of any or all of the mechanical solutions to dust collection that are currently available in the UK. If the machinery to be used is not suitable for use with a mechanical dust collection system or when there is no suitable solution available then the employer is forced to resort to issuing PPE and RPE, which is often when far too little attention is paid to the vital decision as to the correct type of RPE to be issued.
It has always seemed rather strange that many employers will consider and sometimes purchase dust collection systems that costs several hundreds if not thousands of pounds, when any sensible person living in the real world can see at a glance that the machinery or system cannot possibly work efficiently. Yet the same employers will vigorously complain about investing in a much cheaper but more suitable RPE programme which will not only protect their workforce but could also perhaps, much more importantly, protect themselves from a future problem when a worker suffering from some debilitating chest infection caused by his or her employer’s lack of attention to detail, ultimately decides to seek redress in the courts. Because employers rarely win such cases!  

1 comment:

  1. JK Filters specialise in supplying, installing and maintaining dust extractors to companies of all sizes throughout the UK.