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Risg Solutions offers professional customised health, safety, environmental, quality and fire management solutions. Our goal is to support your company in complying with your legal and moral duties, whilst also positively impacting your financial and business performance.

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Dust Kills

In the manufacturing industry, silica can pose significant risks to worker health. Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) particles can lead to severe lung damage. As a result of poor inspection results during the 2022 silica initiative, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) created a 'Dust Kills' campaign to provide guidance and support to workers and employers processing silica-containing materials. They also began meticulous inspections of manufacturing companies on July 3rd, 2023, to reprimand those without sufficient control measures to combat silica-related dangers. This blog post sheds light on the lethal hazards of RCS. It also emphasizes the importance of complying with health and safety standards to prioritize worker safety and suggests ways for manufacturing companies to implement and improve silica control measures.

Understanding the Risks.

Silica is a naturally occurring mineral found in sand, stone, concrete and bricks. Activities like cutting, grinding or drilling these materials release fine particles of silica into the air. If workers inhale the silica dust, they risk developing silicosis, an irreversible lung disease characterized by scarring and reduced lung function. Prolonged exposure to RCS can also increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer and other respiratory ailments. Therefore, businesses handling silica have a legal duty to control RCS under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Below are some examples of sufficient RCS control measures.

Risk Assessment

Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment is the first step in combating RCS. A risk assessment involves identifying tasks and processes that generate silica dust, determining the level of exposure and monitoring the effectiveness of control measures already in place.

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls are the most effective way to reduce RCS exposure. These measures modify the workplace environment to minimise dust generation and prevent it from becoming airborne. Examples include installing exhaust ventilation systems at dust generation points, implementing water sprays or misting systems, and creating enclosed areas around dusty operations.


Providing workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) like respirators and protective clothing is also crucial. Respiratory protection, such as air-purifying respirators, should be provided to workers in high-risk environments. Proper fit testing, training and regular inspections of PPE are essential to ensure its effectiveness.

Education and Training

Administrative controls are also vital to establish safe work practices. Educating workers about the dangers of RCS exposure and training them to properly use engineering controls, PPE and clean equipment can minimise dust release and exposure. Knowledge empowers employees to take necessary precautions and reinforces a workplace safety culture.

Ongoing Evaluation

RCS control measures should be subject to regular review and evaluation to identify any shortcomings or emerging risks. Conduct periodic audits and stay updated with industry best practices to enhance control measures continuously.

ISO 45001

Implementing sufficient control measures is not only a legal and moral obligation but also a strategic investment to protect the well-being of your employees. ISO 45001 provides a framework for identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing appropriate controls to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Pursuing this certification can protect your workers from RCS and enhance your reputation as a responsible and safety-conscious company.

Are you concerned about the health and well-being of your employees working with silica? Do you need help ensuring your business complies with health and safety regulations? RISG is a professional consultancy agency offering expert advice on all health and safety matters. We can provide a management system suited to your needs, and our experienced consultants can help you to achieve the ISO 45001 certification. For more information, visit our website or get in touch today!

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