HSE issues warning to the stone industry


2 mins

Posted on 23 Oct 2015

The HSE has found a series of health and safety breaches in the stone industry.

HSE inspectors visited sixty stone businesses, including work surface manufacturers, stonemasons and monumental masons from June to September 2015. 

Serious breaches were found at over half (35) of the premises that were visited. HSE issued four Prohibition Notices, 54 Improvement Notices and provided verbal advice to others.

Four common areas of concern were found throughout the initiative:

  • control of respirable crystalline silica (RCS), a hazardous dust which can damage health, 
  • handling and storage of stone,
  • poor machinery guarding, and
  • air compressors which can create an explosion risk.

Recommendations

A stone business should ensure the following actions are completed to prevent harm to operatives:

  • A review of all working methods and processes to ensure the most suitable method of work is used
  • A review of equipment used and planned preventative maintenance must be in place
  • An inspection to ensure that suitable and sufficient personal protective equipment is used
  • Educate operatives through providing instruction, information and training and supervision where required
  • Ensure extraction systems are fit for purpose and maintained regularly
  • Health surveillance is required for operatives exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). RCS dust breathed in through the nose and mouth can cause irreversible lung damage.

Guidance on health surveillance for those exposed to RCS can be found on the HSE website.

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