Concerns have been raised over the health standards of construction workers after a series of independent inspections of construction sites found that dust masks were not being used correctly.
The findings of the 10,000 visits made to sites throughout the country by the Building Safety Group (BSG) earlier in the year found that a significant number of workers had not fitted their masks correctly.
The research also shows a 58% rise in breaches of personal protective equipment use between the first and second quarters of this year.
The BSG said that most of the breaches uncovered related to the way firms use “face fit” dust masks, which the group said was particularly concerning as these masks cut down on the risk of workers inhaling dangerous chemicals from the dust they are working with.
The substances can lead to fatal diseases such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and lung cancer.
Overall, the inspections carried out by the BSG discovered that occupational health non-compliance concerns went up by 28% between the first and second quarters of 2016.
Furthermore, there was a 43% increase in violations concerning the control of substances hazardous to health and a 13% rise in dust fume infringements.
The findings of the research has led Paul Kimpton, BSG Managing Director, to call for construction companies to review their health and safety protocol on a regular basis to make sure that they comply with the latest legislation.
Kimpton commented: “Everyone involved in construction has a responsibility in managing risks to health, and all parties must take ownership of their part of the process. Construction dust is not just a nuisance. It can seriously damage your health and cause life-changing lung diseases.”
The findings come at a time when the construction industry is taking big steps as a whole to cut down on the risks to health and safety.