Cross-Industry Group of UK Organisations Commits to Limiting Silica Exposure

Respirable crystalline silica dust.   Courtesy: MSDSonline

Respirable crystalline silica dust.  Courtesy: MSDSonline

On December 4, the UK Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) announced that a cross-industry group of organisations in the UK has committed to limiting employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), which, according to IOSH, is responsible for nearly 800 deaths in the UK each year. Construction, rail, mineral products, professional bodies, academia, and unions were among the types of organisations which signed onto the "Tackling Respirable Crystalline Together: a Cross-Industry Commitment," part of IOSH's "No Time to Lose" occupational cancer campaign which began in March 2016.

The pledged organisations aim to tackle silica exposure by achieving three principal objectives:

  • to work together to reduce exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) through effective monitoring and management of dust;
  • to increase awareness and understanding of the potential health risks associated with exposure to RCS in order to change attitudes and behaviors; and
  • to share good practice on the management of RCS across industry sectors.

In a survey of 36 of the committed organisations, IOSH found that a majority of respondents were making progress in reducing or eliminating exposure to RCS. "This really illustrates how our "No Time to Lose" campaign is helping businesses drive change and prevent exposure to RCS," said Shelley Frost, director of strategic development at IOSH. Read more here.