The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) has completed research into the damaging effect roof tile dust has on the health of workers cutting roofing tiles.
When cutting roof tiles, workers are exposed to particles of silica dust (Respirable Crystalline Silica – RCS) which causes debilitating illnesses such as Silicosis. Whenever multiple roofs meet a valley is created, and roof tiles are normally cut in-situ to create the appropriate angles for a seamless join. The HSE had previously allowed the building industry to do this using hand-held power tools without wet-dust suppression systems, to mitigate additional risks such as slips.
The HSL’s study showed that using the existing method, workers who cut two roof edges of a valley in a single shift met or exceeded the 8-hour average RCS exposure limit. As such, the HSE has now mandated that roofing tiles must be marked-up at roof level, before being cut at a fixed location using water suppression to protect employees’ respiratory health.
The effect of dust from any source on health should never be underestimated. Medium and long-term exposure can result in serious damage to the lungs. Wrightway Health offer a range of monitoring and screening programmes designed to measure the impact of dust to at-risk workers. These can include spirometry to measure lung-function, through to face-fit testing to ensure where respiratory aids are required they are used effectively. We can look at your working practices to identify risks and suggest simple modifications that will