According to the most recent HSE statistics (published November 2020), there are an estimated 12,000 deaths per year related to lung diseases, linked to past exposures in the workplace. The real number may be much higher – measurement is difficult to track as many lung diseases having a long latency period, meaning they start to develop many years after the workplace exposures that caused them or contributed. The main exceptions are occupational asthma and allergic alveolitis which can develop more quickly.
Current and recently occurring cases of long-latency diseases are mainly a reflection of past workplace conditions. However, many of the causative agents can still be present in workplaces and thus constitute a potential on-going hazard.
Breathing in specks of dust, gases, fumes and vapours in the workplace can cause serious, long-term lung damage and often incurable health problems. Occupational lung diseases include but are not limited to:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Work-related lung cancer
Extrinsic allergic alveolitis
By law, employers are required to control exposure in all uses by site and process-specific measures. Risk reduction/mitigation methods include:
Competent assessments and ongoing reviews
Monitoring / Surveys
Less hazardous materials
Relevant training and substance handling
Protective equipment – as a last resort
Occupational Health Monitoring
The important thing is to ensure the activity and those who could be exposed are below regulatory workplace exposure limits (WELs).
How can AssessNET help manage these risks?
The AssessNET COSHH and SDS module helps you to understand and assess the risks associated with specific activities and exposure levels, it enables you to review current control measures in place and assist in highlighting any alternative safer products that can be used. It also provides recommendations regarding relevant PPE equipment and any emergency procedures necessary based on SDS data. The in-built SDS manager allows you to tailor your COSHH assessments to your operations, giving you visibility of the risks created by using certain products and how to control them.
Built with efficiency at its core; AssessNET’s SDS management system will notify owners of COSHH assessments and recommend reviews when substance changes are made and a new edition of the SDS is published on the platform. Combined with AssessNET’s powerful Task Manager at its core, linkages to EH40, glove permeation data and location-specific registers, AssessNET can provide a robust and collaborative solution across your organisation.
This can be used in conjunction with our BI Data Analytics tool, which helps you to prioritise areas of high risk to get an overview of the most dangerous operations/ products in use.
Other AssessNET Modules to help you to review, refine and communicate Safe Systems of Work:
Permit to Work – This enables employees, temporary workers and contractors to remain compliant with your processes, ensuring they only enter specific areas and complete tasks that they are qualified to perform.
Risk Assessments – Carry out a workplace activity risk assessment to review and assess the risks associated with certain activities in your business. This approach will enable you to review and refine your risk management processes.
Method Statement – Create bespoke method statements against specific activities, helping your employees to ascertain the key steps in identifying the risks with the activities and how to protect themselves from harm.
Training Management – Having access to real-time status of your employee training records will enable you to see who is qualified to execute certain tasks, as well as identify gaps or outdated records.