The national Hazards Campaign is urging the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to halve the workplace exposure limit for silica dust, a move it says will save 4,000 lives a year.
The campaign’s call came in response to a new ‘Choked’ report from Hazards magazine. This presents evidence for cutting the current legal limit of 0.1 mg/m3 for respirable crystalline silica to no more than 0.05 mg/m3, a move the report says would dramatically reduce the incidence of the lung scarring occupational disease silicosis, lung cancer, autoimmune diseases and other silica-related conditions.
Hazards reviewed the international scientific literature and internal HSE documents to calculate the annual excess silica-related death toll resulting from HSE’s repeat refusal to switch to and enforce the tighter standard, instead sticking with a level it admits comes with “significant risks”.
The report reveals that HSE’s own internal reports estimate the silicosis risk for workers is six times higher at the current HSE limit of 0.1 mg/m3, calculated at 30 cases per 100 workers exposed compared to just five per 100 at the tighter 0.05 mg/m3 standard. The United States and a number of other jurisdictions already work to the safer standard.
The Hazards Campaign is asking supporters to send an online postcard to Sarah Albon, the new chief executive of the HSE. Over 600,000 workers in the UK are regularly exposed to silica at work which is created when cutting, grinding drilling or polishing, natural substances such as rocks and sand and is a major constituent in bricks, tiles and concrete and materials. At least one-in-five workers in these jobs – and in some like stonemasonry and construction, possibly half – are exposed at or above the current deadly UK limit.
Choked! The evidence for introducing a lifesaving new silica dust exposure limit, Hazards, Number 147, September 2019.
ACTION: Send an e-postcard to HSE demanding it introduce a more protective silica standard no higher than 0.05mg/m³ and with a phased move to 0.025mg/m³.
Join the Hazards Campaign in Manchester on Sunday 1st October where we will be marching behind our new banner at the Tories Out march at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester.
Join us to tell the Government : “We love red tape – it’s better than bloody bandages”
We invite you to join us and to dress up in bloodied (fake blood or similar) bandages – there should be lots of Halloween costumes available in the shops if you don’t feel creative).
If you are lucky you may even get a photo with Janet in her bandages… for the price of a postcard!
We are organising a table for the beginning of the march to encourage people to sign postcards – telling the Government : “We love red tape it’s better than bloody bandages” and “enough is enough.”
Meeting place If possible we will our table up near to the Museum of Science and Industry end of Liverpool Road. If we can’t do that please ring one of the numbers below and keep an eye on @hazardscampaign and @jnewsham
Order of the day We aim to set up our table at about 10.00. Speeches start at 11.30 at Castlefield Arena. The demo forms up on Liverpool Rd at 13.30 leaving at 14.00 with closing speeches at Piccadilly Gardens at 15.45 – 16.30.
Janet Newsham – Hazards Campaign/GMHC
Janet Newsham 07734 317158
Hilda Palmer 07929 800240
There is a debate on Regulation and safety at #TUC17 this afternoon (Monday 11th) that supports our message. It’s an excellent opportunity to get more Enough is Enough ecards sent to PM and increase the pressure.
Please tweet and retweet this afternoon (Monday 11th) around 2pm onwards using the #tuc17 and retweet @hazardscampaign @jnewsham
Paste and copy and tweet:
#TUC17 Regulation & Safety: Hazards Campaign calls for an end to deregulation & undermining of health & safety http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard
#TUC17 Support Regulation & Safety debate: Send a Hazards Campaign Enough is enough ecard http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard
#TUC17 Deregulation is deadly, at Grenfell, at work, everywhere. Enough is enough, stop deregulation http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard
Or make up your own and add #tuc17 and the link http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard
Hilda and Janet