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Seminar addresses lung disease in construction workers 

Employers in the construction industry will get the chance to learn how to protect their workers from the risk of occupational respiratory diseases at a British Safety Council (BSC) seminar taking place in Cardiff city centre on 20 May.

Occupational hygienist Kelvin Williams will explain how Breathe Freely - a new initiative led by BOHS, the chartered society for worker health protection - aims to help construction employers raise awareness among staff of the risks of developing disabling and fatal diseases such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) because of exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos, silica and wood dust.  

Mr Kelvin, a consultant who specialises in protecting workers from exposure to hazardous substances, will tell delegates at the BSC’s Sharing Good Practice seminar how construction managers can use Breathe Freely factsheets to identify ways of protecting workers from exposure to harmful airborne substances – for example, through the use of on-tool extraction systems and respiratory equipment.  

“It’s no secret that construction workers are at high risk of contracting lung disease from the work that they do,” he said.

“In 2015, approximately 3,500 will die from occupational cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos, another 500 will die from exposure to silica dust and, in addition, 5,500 new cases of occupational cancer will be reported.

“What is less well known is that there is a solution: 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, otherwise known as good occupational hygiene practice.”

The Sharing Good Practice seminar will take place at the Thistle Hotel in central Cardiff from 08:55-12:30 and is aimed at anyone responsible for ensuring the health and safety of people at work, in any industry or business sector.

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