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TEAM Talks will keep you updated with the latest legislation, regulations, industry trends and best practices for safety compliance.

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

Monday  25th March, 2024

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. Silicosis, an incurable lung disease caused by inhaling Crystalline Silica particles (a mineral found in stone), poses a severe threat to the health and well-being of those in the construction sector. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.


According to recent reports from the Royal Brompton Hospital, at least 3 confirmed cases of silicosis have been identified, signalling a disturbing development in workplace health hazards. This revelation comes just weeks after a Government Minister denied in Parliament the prevalence of Silicosis cases in the UK, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue and misinformation about the deadly disease.


The danger lies in the handling of engineered stone worktops, so people who manufacture, fit, and demolish kitchens are at higher risk. This is because inhaling the dust is what makes it deadly. Dust can be produced when the engineered stone worktops are cut, drilled, demolished, sanded, shovelled, or swept.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


Despite the ban of engineered stone in Australia due to widespread exposure and emergency regulatory actions in the United States, the UK has seen a significant surge in the use of engineered stone, particularly in kitchens, with a 75% increase reported in 2020 alone.


BOHS, renowned for its expertise in occupational health, emphasises the importance of implementing effective dust control measures to mitigate exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS). Water suppression of dust and other standard controls can significantly reduce the risk of Silicosis. However, proper implementation of these measures is essential as Silicosis is incurable, the damage cannot be reversed but can quite easily be prevented. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and increased risk of Tuberculosis and Lung Cancer. There is also a risk of developing Kidney Disease and Arthritis (and other related diseases).


BOHS President, Alex Wilson, underscores the need for heightened awareness and medical surveillance within the engineered stone industry:


Sadly, there is reasonable probability that there are more cases that have not been detected or reported. Accurate diagnosis of Silicosis is difficult, and it can easily mistaken for a more common complaint, Sarcoidosis, for example. BOHS President, Alex Wilson


Wilson stresses the importance of seeking expert advice from occupational safety specialists to ensure adequate protection for workers.


Professor Kevin Bampton, BOHS Chief Executive, reinforces the Society's commitment to strengthening guidance provided by regulatory bodies like the Health and Safety Executive. By advocating for effective controls and promoting awareness of workplace risks, BOHS aims to prevent future cases of Silicosis and uphold the health and safety of workers in the construction industry.


In addition to the risks associated with RCS exposure, concerns regarding metal additives and resin toxicity in engineered stone further increase the need for comprehensive safety measures.


As the UK continues to grapple with the rising prevalence of Silicosis, proactive measures, education, and legislative support are crucial in safeguarding the well-being of workers and preventing needless suffering and loss of life. We must prioritise the protection of workers and ensure that no life is needlessly endangered in the pursuit of progress and productivity.

TEAM Safety Services Ltd. Dust Awareness eLearning 


As a trusted provider of occupational health and safety solutions, TEAM Safety Services is committed to empowering organisations with the knowledge and tools they need to promote a culture of safety and well-being.


Our Dust Awareness eLearning course allows workers and employers alike to take proactive steps to protect themselves and others from the hazards of dust exposure. Through interactive modules, learners will find out about the hidden dangers of dust, different types of dust they may encounter at work, like Crystalline Silica, Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), and the harmful impact of dust on health. Learners will gain insight into the symptoms of Silicosis, the importance of early detection, and the long-term consequences of exposure.


With comprehensive training and the implementation of effective dust control measures, we can mitigate the threat of Silicosis and create a healthier, safer workplace for all.


Use the discount code '24for2024' at checkout for 24% off all eLearning Courses


More from Team Talks...

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has exposed a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. Compromised safety gear poses serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

Commitment to safety in the workplace remains paramount for companies striving to create secure and healthy environments for their employees. We have outlined 10 New Year resolutions that every company should embrace in the coming months.

Read 
10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

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Discover Our Wide Range of eLearning Courses

Our eLearning courses are approved by the world's largest health and safety organisation, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

We Are Fully Accredited.

Our industry-leading professional accreditations give you the reassurance you need to know you are getting the best advice available.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.
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TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Unveiling Hidden Dangers: The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Monday  19th February, 2024

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has sounded a resounding alarm, exposing a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. The implications of these findings are nothing short of alarming, as compromised safety gear remains accessible in the market, posing serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

 

The Alarming Findings

 

Between December 2022 and December 2023, the BSIF conducted tests on 123 non-member products, evaluating their compliance with standards and adherence to advertised performance. Shockingly, only 21% (26 products) proved to be fully compliant, leaving a staggering 79% (97 products) that failed to meet regulatory criteria. These substandard products, still available in the market, pose significant risks to unsuspecting users.


Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


Safety Deficiencies Unveiled

 

The failed products showcased a spectrum of critical safety deficiencies, each with the potential to compromise the well-being of users. Here are some examples of PPE products that were tested. 

 

One product which was purchased from an online retailer was a Flame Retardant Parka. During rigorous flame spread testing, the outer protective layer burnt through, exposing the inner layer, which then caught fire. This resulted in the coat being completely consumed by flames. The Parka also lacked correct documentation and markings in line with PPE Regulation requirements. 

 

A pair of safety boots were also purchased and tested from the same retailer. The safety boots failed toe cap compression tests and were over 10 years old. They were supplied with outdated certifications and were not correctly marked or documented, leaving wearers vulnerable to foot injuries. 

 

A pair of safety spectacles were acquired from a high street retailer, which failed an impact resistance test. The lenses cracked and broke when struck by a projectile. The spectacles also lacked markings and the required documentation. Despite the high street retailer’s promises to remove the product from sale, it was still available for over two months after.

 

Protective gloves from a high street retailer were also tested against abrasion and failed, as well as a Respiratory Protective Mask (FFP3) purchased from a PPE distributor, which only performed at half of the required level during filter penetration tests against contaminants. 

 

These deficiencies have the potential to lead to accidents causing life-long consequences. 



Grave Concerns


The non-member PPE product test result findings are in severe contrast to the results from testing products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers. Of the 348 tests BSIF completed on products from Registered Safety Suppliers between December 2022 and December 2023, 91% (315 products) passed instantly. Of the 9% (33 products) which initially fell short, issues found in the tests were promptly addressed and rectified.

 

Alan Murray, BSIF CEO, has warned that unsuspecting users often place their trust in compromised products, putting their safety at risk. Alan Murray calls for the critical need for buyers and specifiers to thoroughly review their procurement processes and implement stringent measures to ensure they receive PPE that is demonstrably fit for purpose.

 

“Checking for the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier shield is the easiest way to ensure you only deal with compliant, competent, and trustworthy suppliers. Remember, anyone can sell safety, but you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone; always check for the shield.” Alan Murray, BSIF CEO


In Conclusion


The BSIF's stark warning serves as a wake-up call for all stakeholders in the safety industry. TEAM Safety Services echoes the urgency of implementing stringent measures in PPE procurement to ensure the safety and well-being of users. By prioritising compliance and partnering with BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers, we can collectively contribute to a safer work environment and protect individuals from the hidden dangers posed by substandard personal protective equipment.



More from Team Talks...

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has exposed a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. Compromised safety gear poses serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

Commitment to safety in the workplace remains paramount for companies striving to create secure and healthy environments for their employees. We have outlined 10 New Year resolutions that every company should embrace in the coming months.

Read 
10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

Subscribe for updates

Sign up to recieve news, training and advice straight to your inbox

Discover Our Wide Range of eLearning Courses

Our eLearning courses are approved by the world's largest health and safety organisation, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

We Are Fully Accredited.

Our industry-leading professional accreditations give you the reassurance you need to know you are getting the best advice available.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.
citb logo
UKATA logo

10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

Friday 26th January, 2024


As we step into the new year of 2024, the commitment to safety in the workplace remains paramount for companies striving to create secure and healthy environments for their employees. We have outlined 10 New Year resolutions that every company should embrace in the coming months. 

 

Here's a detailed look at each resolution along with tips on how TEAM Safety Services can assist in upholding these standards and safety goals:


Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


1. Prevent slips, trips, and falls by ensuring good housekeeping.

 

Maintaining a clutter-free and well-organised workplace is crucial to prevent accidents. These accidents are among the most common causes of workplace injuries, leading to significant consequences for both employees and employers. TEAM Safety Services offers on-site inspections and training to identify potential hazards and establish effective housekeeping practices.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


2. Eliminate or control exposure to noise, dust, and vibration in the workplace.

 

Overexposure to noise, dust, and vibration can have life-long consequences. This is why knowledge and awareness of safe practices should be at the top of your priority in 2024. Our TEAM can provide expertise in assessing occupational exposures, identifying potential risks, and recommending strategies to mitigate hazards.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


3. Try to avoid manual handling altogether. But, if it must be done, ask for help or use mechanical aids.

 

Manual handling poses risks of musculoskeletal injuries. TEAM Safety Services offers on-site and online training which shares manual handling assessments, steps, and proper lifting techniques, helping to reduce the likelihood of injuries related to manual handling.

Get 24% off all eLearning courses for a limited time only! Just use the code '24for2024' at checkout! 

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


4. Enhance Emergency Preparedness.

 

Your workplace and staff should always be prepared in case of an emergency, and part of being prepared is sharing the right information and having safe protocols in place. TEAM Safety Services can assist in developing and reviewing individualised emergency response plans, and ensure employees are well-prepared for emergencies, including fire evacuations and other critical situations.

 

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


5. Invest in Training.

 

Make sure all staff are trained and competent to carry out their role safely by providing comprehensive training for employees. You should also cover safety topics such as First-Aid, Fire Safety, and Health and Safety Awareness to empower your workforce with the knowledge needed for a secure work environment. Our experienced TEAM of experts can deliver this training on-site, or our engaging eLearning courses can be completed online and remotely.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


6. Regular Equipment Inspections.

 

We recommend establishing routine equipment inspections to minimise the risk of injuries. These may be daily, weekly, monthly, or annually depending on the type of equipment and frequency of use. Our specialists can assist you in developing inspection schedules and ensuring machinery and tools meet safety standards.

 

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


7. Ensure all activities are properly risk-assessed by competent and qualified individuals.

 

Not everyone is qualified to carry out risk assessments, and even then, not every risk assessor is qualified to carry out every type of risk assessment. It is essential that competent and qualified individuals carry out assessments, and any hazards identified are eliminated or reduced promptly. Our TEAM of qualified and experienced assessors can conduct thorough risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential hazards, ensuring a safe working environment.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


8. Use and wear any equipment provided by your employer for safety.

 

Not only is it your responsibility by law to wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment, but your responsibility for the safety of yourself and those around you. We would like to emphasise the importance of PPE for the year ahead, as after all, it has been supplied to you for your safety. If you need any advice on what PPE you should be issuing or using, we can help guide you to enhance workplace safety.

 

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services.


9. If in doubt, stop work and ask your supervisor.

 

Encouraging a culture of open communication should be a priority within your organisation, as it helps to promote the importance of seeking clarification when in doubt. It is part of the Supervisor’s and Manager’s role to assist employees in creating a safe environment, and if there is any concern over risks or hazards involved, they should be able to address any staff concerns. Our training for Supervisors and Managers will help instil confidence in your company’s leadership roles to prioritise safety assurance over assumptions.


10. Know where to get information and advice about Health and Safety.

 

Our TEAM encourages utilising free online and accessible resources such as the HSE website and staying informed through our monthly TEAM Talks Blog. For personalised advice and further consultation, our TEAM of experts are readily available to address your specific needs.

 


In 2024, let safety be the cornerstone of your company's success. Embrace these resolutions and partner with TEAM Safety Services to ensure a secure and thriving workplace for all.

 

As a kickstart to help get your organisation up to safety standards in 2024, we are offering 24% off all of our eLearning courses, which include topics like Fire Safety Awareness, Manual Handling, Display Screen Equipment Awareness and Workplace Inductions. 

 

Get compliant today with TEAM Safety Services eLearning. 

More from Team Talks...

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has exposed a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. Compromised safety gear poses serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024

Commitment to safety in the workplace remains paramount for companies striving to create secure and healthy environments for their employees. We have outlined 10 New Year resolutions that every company should embrace in the coming months.

Read 
10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024