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News

Construction industry 'Healthy Handling' initiative

HSE InfoLine : 08 January, 2004  (Company News)
Some of the biggest causes of ill-health and injury in construction are the focus of a Health and Safety Executive initiative that will culminate in an inspection blitz of sites throughout London, East and South East England during March 2004. The initiative, titled 'Healthy Handling', is being brought to the attention of clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors across the region.
Some of the biggest causes of ill-health and injury in construction are the focus of a Health and Safety Executive initiative that will culminate in an inspection blitz of sites throughout London, East and South East England during March 2004. The initiative, titled 'Healthy Handling', is being brought to the attention of clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors across the region.

Handling and using tools, materials and substances can result in fractures, strains, musculo-skeletal disorders, dermatitis, cement burns, hearing loss, hand arm vibration syndrome and consequent long term disability.

Last year 25% of major injuries in the construction industry were due to slipping or tripping while moving around construction sites. Each year it is estimated that 90,000 construction workers sustain MSDs, and 3,000 new cases of vibration white finger are diagnosed. In addition, between 5.5% and 10.5% of construction workers are thought to be sensitive to cement, which can cause dermatitis and/or burns.

During the Healthy Handling initiative and blitz HSE inspectors will be focusing on site order and organisation, lifting and carrying, wet cement and hand held vibrating equipment and tools. If not properly managed each of these topics has the potential to cause ill-health and injury to construction workers.

Commenting on the initiative, Chief Inspector for Construction Kevin Myers said: 'While developing cement dermatitis or vibration white finger is unlikely to kill someone, it can result in significant injury and ultimately force someone out of their profession. Effective controls on exposure to these occupational heath risks can reduce or prevent injury and ill-health experienced by workers in the construction industry. We are now looking to clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors to take account of these hazards well before work starts on site'.
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