Ireland: Eliminating risks from respirable crystalline silica dust in the construction sectorKeywords:
The carcinogenic substance respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is a very common hazard on construction sites.
With the commitment of high-level management, BAM Ireland identified risks to workers on its sites from this dangerous substance and ways of minimising them. Many hazards were eliminated at the design stage — by replacing the use of silica-containing materials and silica-generating activities with safer alternatives — and housekeeping procedures and personal protective equipment were improved and compliance regularly monitored.
The company stipulated to sub-contractors at the procurement stage that RCS dust extraction needed to be used at the source and collaborated with a known manufacturer of professional tools to enable them to purchase such tools.
Awareness-raising efforts ensured that all workers were aware of the risks and the benefits of complying with safety policies, creating a better working environment and culture of prevention.