A sign of things to come.
Despite the protests of Johnson and Johnson, who played the indignation card at a “fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts.”
The verdict is “[at] odds with decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer,” they quibble.
$2.12 billion in damages tells another story.
That’s what a Missouri court ordered Johnson and Johnson pay to women suffering ovarian cancer caused by asbestos in its baby powder and other talc products. Litigation that looks like just the beginning.
Not just for Johnson and Johnson, who now face‘21,800 lawsuits claiming that its talc products cause cancer because of contamination from asbestos, a known carcinogen,’ but also for the many employers the world over who fail to properly protect their workers from preventable disease.
Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction says: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents.”
In the UK alone, 14,000 people a year die prematurely from largely preventable disease caused by the inhalation of dust in the workplace.
Preventable because there’s no excuse for remaining ignorant of the potentially fatal consequences of exposure to dangerous microscopic airborne particles.
If You’re Serious About Running a Business You Need to be Serious About Protecting Your People
While lack of awareness has certainly been a problem in the past, now, with plenty of readily available research, public health messaging and examples of high-profile litigation, there’s simply no reason for companies to ignore their responsibilities,
Especially following new advances in dust measurement technology.
So not only is ignorance (still) an illegitimate excuse, with new technology that provides you and your workers with real-time and highly accurate dust readings in any working environment, so too is blaming a lack of suitable technology.
Put simply, if you’re serious about running a business you need to be serious about protecting people from the dust dangers that surround them. Serious about both understanding those dangers and then putting the measures in place to mitigate them.
And as if the moral obligation wasn’t enough, the commercial implications are enormous too – as Johnson and Johnson are discovering.
Link to dust survey blog?
The Cost of Complicity
There’s more to worry about than the obvious bottom line legal costs and compensation. You need to consider the reputation costs in the form of lost business opportunities and even share price, insurance premium hikes, loss of production or reduced output, sickness cover and pay, and the lack of future legal and financial protections. All the many, undesirable and inevitable consequences of being exposed as negligent. The last thing any business needs or wants.
All You Need to Know
Are you still unclear about the extensive danger of dust? Or do you already realise the danger, want to do something about it but are unsure how technology can help you?
Either way feel free to call us or get in touch by filling out the form below. We’ll tell you the many ways that we help businesses across all sorts of sectors, all over the world. Everything you need to know about protecting your workers from the threat of disease, and your business from the threat of litigation – and all its damaging implications.
+44 (0) 161 483 1435
Newby Rd, Stockport SK7 5DY, United Kingdom
As any responsible employer knows – a clear threat to the health and welfare of your staff demands a clear response.
In heavy industry such as construction, mining, tunnelling and manufacturing, the obvious risks to health posed by clouds of workplace dust are increasingly addressed through various precautions and protections:
Quite right too.
And with awareness of the dangers of dust increasing, so these protections become more effective as they are applied more extensively across different scenarios.
Which is great.
But the readily visible dust, the great plumes of obviously dangerous dust, the recognisable threat that industry works increasingly hard to mitigate – is only a part of the story.
The Punch You Don’t See Coming
More dangerous than the dust you can see, is the dust you can’t see.
The particulates that reach beyond workers benefiting from frontline protection to threaten support and ancillary staff.
An unfortunate consequence of focusing efforts solely on frontline workers is that too often there are other members of the team who aren’t monitored and protected. Plant and equipment operators working in enclosed cabins for example. They might assume they’re safe but, with microscopic airborne hazards so hard to detect, they’re still exposed to serious amounts of risk.
Which is one of the main reasons for the introduction of a new international standard for a consistent approach to designing, testing, operating, and maintaining the air-quality systems of operator enclosures – ISO 23875.
A standard that recognises and responds to the extent of the dangers caused by dust right across a working environment.
A Universally Popular Standard
It’s a move that’s been welcomed across the board with Australian Mining Safety Journal and Mining Review Africa writing, ‘the new standard is likely to place a greater emphasis on the air quality inside the cabin than previously addressed.’
A recent ISO workshop run by Jeff Moredock, Lead at the ISO Working Group advertised that the new cabin air standard will ‘Improve operator alertness, create a safer work environment and increase productivity.’
Of course the big question is how do you properly assess the air quality in your cabin?
How can you enforce a new and improved standard if you’re not able to accurately record particulate levels in real time?
New Standards in Dust Monitoring for New ISO Standard 23875
Which makes the introduction of new, wearable or in-cab dust detection monitoring technology such as the XD One so timely.
Low cost, lightweight, easy to use, easy to maintain and 5 times more accurate than other devices the XD One continuously measures every particle from as small as 0.35 to 40μm.
Issue every operator an XD One and they’re constantly reading the air quality in their immediate environment and instantly alerted to any danger.
Time you took a closer look at real-time operator cabin monitoring?
Call us or get in touch using the form below!
We can also give you more details on how the XD One can help you align with ISO Standard 23875 as well as protect workers across your whole site from the danger of microscopic airborne particles.
+44 (0) 161 483 1435
Newby Rd, Stockport SK7 5DY, United Kingdom
The IOSH Construction Group Committee Construction Dust Survey makes for sobering reading. Firstly, it highlights the fact that much more needs to be done to increase awareness of the dangers of dust from an employees perspective:
“Dust causes a lower level of concern among employees than the more immediately noticeable dangers of construction, such as falls… they do not perceive it as a significant immediate risk to their wellbeing unlike falls from height, equipment etc.”
It also highlights a lack of awareness from the industry as a whole. Of 618 health and safety professional respondents, ‘44.6 percent thought that the industry gave little or no priority to the issue, and a similar proportion (42.4 percent) felt that it received the same priority as other health issues.’
And even when awareness exists, the report found that compliance is weak.
‘54.0 percent of respondents indicated that workers sometimes fail to follow prescribed methods of work. Over a third of respondents (36.2 percent) indicated that this happened most or all of the time.’
So what’s going on? Why, even when employers and their onsite teams are in possession of the facts, do they too often choose to ignore the dangers posed by dust?
Dangers that lead to 10 deaths a week from lung cancer caused by silica dust, let alone the other illness and premature death from other cancers, silicosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
A Cognitive Dissonance
You’ll be familiar with the concept of cognitive dissonance, ‘the state of discomfort felt when two or more modes of thought contradict each other’.
Like knowing smoking is bad for you, but continuing to smoke.
Like, “we know dust is dangerous but there’s no convenient, low-cost alternative to handling the risk – so we’ll stick with what we’ve always done.”
Barriers to Change
There’s a lot to learn in the Construction Dust Survey.
More than anything, it’s highlighted that despite being increasingly aware of the dangers, people aren’t taking action.
Somehow, industry has convinced itself that the culture and adoption of, the management of, and the cost, complication and general hassle of creating a safe working environment is more trouble than just leaving things be.
Here are just some of the barriers to change noted in the survey:
Culture: The culture of the industry, and its ‘traditional’ view of dust as an expected or normal part of construction work, can be a significant barrier.
Use: Workers often view the controls as cumbersome, impractical, affected by poor maintenance or giving rise to other risks. This deters use.
Employees: Implementing controls effectively depends on good management and supervision. Operators generally choose not to use controls.
Management arrangements: In general, the industry does not seem to manage dust control issues adequately. Comments refer to a link between the management priority given to this issue and the corresponding conditions found on-site.
Cost: Dust control is often viewed as labour-intensive, expensive, time-consuming and a nuisance that slows work.
‘The industry creates this risk. It now needs to acknowledge it, own it and deal with it.’
It somehow seems that as awareness increases, industry seems to think a cultural shift towards safer working environments will run its own natural course over time.
“It is like wearing a hi-vis 15 years ago or hard hats. It took years for the culture to change.” says a contributor to the report.
Fortunately, we’ve taken a far more proactive approach.
A Fast-Track Alternative
What if we could fast track that safer working environment?
What if that cognitive dissonance could be eased instantly and increased awareness could be achieved overnight? And what if you only ever had to use dust control methods when you actually needed them?
It’s hard to not be aware of something when an alarm is screaming in your ears and bright lights are flashing.
Well, here’s the thing.
A low-cost, simple-to-use, personal alarm would help solve the problem overnight.
All those adoption and implementation objections, all the excuses and all those barriers to change would evaporate. Instantly.
And here’s another thing.
That low-cost, simple-to-use, personal alarm exists.
It’s new and it’s here.
Call us or get in touch by completing the form below. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how both products can protect your workers from the threat of preventable disease.
+44 (0) 161 483 1435
Newby Rd, Stockport SK7 5DY, United Kingdom
Research released from the World Health Organisation* shows that air quality is still an issue in work environments across the globe. While pioneering dust monitoring systems are being introduced in more workplaces than ever, it’s important that employees themselves champion clean air and revolutionary technology.
Being aware of the risks at work can help bring about much needed change in many industries. Experts are calling for air pollution to become identified as a separate risk factor in the workplace** so that more can be done to begin monitoring harmful particulates and reduce the chance of premature illness for workers.
Every employee has the right to work in a place where the risks to health and safety are properly controlled by an employer. However, it can be daunting not knowing where to start when attempting to challenge old workplace habits. It helps for employees to educate themselves on how to implement this in their work environment, whether it be in mining, construction or other heavy process industries.
Here are some of the key need-to-know facts and information for employees who want to reduce their risk of being exposed to air pollution in the workplace:
Where possible, encourage employers to switch to renewable sources of energy as opposed to fossil fuels and coal. This naturally brings down the levels of particulates in the air and will allow for a cleaner environment.
Revolutionary safety technology and dust monitors can reduce risks in even the most polluted work environments. Create safety systems that are unique to your business and the risks from air pollution in the workplace will be lowered significantly.
Don’t neglect dust monitoring in outdoor areas. Airborne particulates can be found within a 300-metre radius on construction sites which, when inhaled, can damage your lungs and have long-term health implications.
It’s not just manual workers who breathe in particulates and need their workspace monitored. Office workers and other administrative staff who work on or near the site can be breathing in the same harmful air, even from cabins and other portable offices.
Even when risks appear minimal, it’s all about control. Implementing strategies means your workforce can be aware of any potential dangers and then act on them accordingly.
Around 12,000 deaths every year*** are linked to exposure to damaging substances such as silica dust at work. It’s only by addressing these issues that risks can be minimised in the workplace.
The good news is that there are now fewer employers that don’t implement strategies in the workplace where there are increased risks, but there is always more that can be done. With so much awareness being raised about the damaging effects of air pollution, companies are now wising up to the risks, meaning more employees can benefit from a healthier and cleaner work environment – and it’s never too late to learn.
Read more about how to tackle air pollution in your workplace or find out how Trolex dust monitors like the Air XD can help you monitor particulate levels and create a safer working environment.
*World Health Organisation
Silicosis has become a growing health and safety concern for the industrial sector; however, knowing how to prevent silica dust exposure is a more complicated issue. To make understanding silicosis easier, we’ve done some research into silica dust and created this guide on how you can reduce exposure in your workplace.
What is silica?
Silica is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in varying amounts in sand, clay, gravel and some rocks and stones.
Also known as ‘quartz’, silica is commonly found on construction sites, due to its prevalence in building materials such as concrete, tiles, mortar and bricks.
Carrying out common construction tasks such as grinding, drilling and cutting generates dust, which can easily be inhaled if the dust is fine enough.
Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) – also known as silica dust – can get deep into the lungs when breathed in, which, over time, can lead to lung cancer or other serious respiratory diseases.
Dust inhalation affects thousands of workers – around 3,000 construction workers suffer from work-related breathing and lung problems per year*, losing businesses thousands in lost productivity. The HSE estimates that silica inhalation was responsible for the deaths of more than 500 construction workers in 2005.
It’s usually the result of heavy and prolonged exposure to RCS over the course of many years, although it is possible to develop acute silicosis more quickly if exposed to extremely high levels of dust.
Silicosis poses a high risk to workers. Its symptoms – which typically present as a persistent cough, shortness of breath and exhaustion – can take years to develop and may not occur until years after exposure or can gradually continue to worsen, potentially leading to fatal respiratory failure.
Unfortunately, silicosis can’t be cured as the lung damage is irreversible, but it can be managed – and, more importantly, it can be prevented.
One of the most effective ways of minimising silica dust exposure is to provide your workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators which cover the nose and mouth.
Disposable respirators only give minimal protection and need to be changed regularly, so you’ll need to assess the working environment to decide if they can adequately protect your workers from silica dust inhalation.
For more hazardous environments, half or full-face respirators offer a better degree of protection – but remember they need to be cleaned after every use.
Contamination can be a major cause of concern in these environments. Workwear can be contaminated by silica dust – which, in some cases, is so fine that it can barely be seen – so it should always be washed separately.
There are specialist laundries that offer industrial cleaning services, to reduce the risk further. Additionally, any equipment used in areas with silica dust should be thoroughly cleaned after use and stored in a dust-free place.
Using local exhaust ventilation (LEV), which removes dust at its point of origin so that it doesn’t enter the air can be a very effective form of dust suppression, as can dust containment systems which continuously remove and filter the contaminated air.
Wet methods involve spraying water on an area before carrying out a task that generates a lot of dust, such as drilling. Wetting the surface before working on it suppresses the number of particles in the air and therefore workers’ exposure to silica dust.
A dust monitoring system can monitor the air quality in the workplace, whilst also measuring the size and concentration of any airborne particles. This is one of the best preventative measures you can take to help reduce the risk of silicosis – constantly monitoring the air in real time allows you to easily spot any areas of concern.
Most dust monitors can only measure one particle size at a time, but the AIR XD Real-Time Dust Monitor uses advanced laser technology to monitor multiple sizes at once, adding an extra level of protection against both silica dust exposure and silicosis.
Reducing silica exposure in the workplace requires commitment, but if you’re interested in finding out how to protect your workers against the dangers of silica inhalation and reduce the risk of silicosis in your workplace, get in touch.
*Source – citb.co.uk
As employers, we have a responsibility to make sure that our people are protected at work.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles, leading to the inhalation of hazardous particulate matter. As decision makers and employers, we can work to significantly reduce this number. How? By employing modern safety technology.
Effective particulate monitoring procedures and units can help us to protect not only the lives of our people, but the financial future of our businesses.
We’re here to offer a helping-hand in understanding the fundamentals of dust monitoring and particulate matter.
In this blog, we’ll be getting down to basics with:
Dust Monitoring Jargon
Here’s a basic introduction to some common language around particulate matter and dust monitoring… You can find a longer glossary of technology types, Air XD- specific terms, diseases and legislation in our Jargon Buster.
For now, let’s start with the basics: size measurements in particulate monitoring.
The unit of measurement used to describe the size of an individual particle i.e. 1µm (or a micron/micrometre = 1 millionth of a meter. A human hair is typically around 60µm diameter.
‘Particulate Matter’ – A mix of solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air to form. I.e. PM10 refers to all particles of 10µm and below in a sample. Our engineering team mocked up a quick graph that may be easier to understand:
It is common practice for legislation to monitor PM1, PM2.5, PM4.25 and PM10.
Short for nanometre. Particulate sizes smaller than 1µm. For example, when we say the Air XD’s range starts at 0.35µm, this is expressed as 350nm in nanometres.
The measurement of particulate matter present in a given amount of cubic air – the measurement most frequently measured by legislation.
‘Total Suspended Particulates’, a regulatory measurement of the total mass concentration of particulate matter in a concentration of air or liquid.
What is dust monitoring
Dust monitoring is the detection, assessment and control of particulate matter or ‘PM’ – the mix of solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air. Particulate matter is monitored by size and concentration. There are various different safety technologies that perform particulate monitoring, to varying degrees of accuracy and depth.
Modern dust monitors like the Air XD are able to provide in-depth detail of particulate matter present in the air, across a wide-spectrum of potentially very hazardous
Why do we need dust monitoring?
It’s not just compliance with the law that makes dust monitoring necessary. Effective monitoring allows us to majorly reduce risk of illness and save the lives of our people. It can also financially future-proof businesses, by recommendations of more intelligent dust control methods, protection against potential litigation claims, minimising product loss through leakages and increased productivity to name but a few.
Dangers of dust inhalation
Respirable dust is the invisible killer that no-one is talking about. The infographic demonstrates the effect of each particulate size on the human body and provides examples of each. Long-term exposure to some of the most dangerous respirable particulates <2µm could lead to life-threatening diseases like silicosis, COPD, Black Lung Disease and lung cancers.