This month, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is inspecting construction firms to check on their health and safety standards, particularly in relation to respiratory risks.

The HSE confirm that the field of construction accounts for over 40% of occupational cancer deaths and cancer registrations, with the most significant cause being exposure to asbestos.

Within construction, there are many risks to be assessed and in terms of exposure to respiratory diseases this can include harmful dusts, chemicals and vapours. The HSE will focus on construction firms’ current risk assessments and how they can be improved. The emphasis is on a proactive approach, to control the risks and not the symptoms.

This is not the first time the HSE has run its ‘Dustbuster’ campaign and it will be interesting to review their findings, particularly as all firms should be proactively updating their risk assessments given the current Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected that the HSE will also provide guidance to firms if, on inspection, they find other health and safety areas that can be improved. At present, we still know little about the long-term effects of Coronavirus, however, if the virus can cause long-term lung or other respiratory related conditions, it remains to be seen whether employers will face covid-19 disease claims in the future.

It can often take years for a serious health condition to develop and therefore, it might not immediately be obvious as to the cause. Unfortunately, consequences of harmful workplace exposure can be dismissed given the slow development of some symptoms and diseases, and it is extremely important that risks are fully assessed and understood from the outset. Further problems can arise whereby a person has changed employment frequently and exposure may not just have been from one source.

At Farleys, we can assist you if you believe that you or your relative has developed a work-related illness. There are strict time limits for bringing such cases and if you think you may have a claim, it is important to take advice as soon as possible. If you would like to speak to a specialist, please contact us on 0845 287 0939 or complete our online contact form.