A Quarry Worker is five times more likely to die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), than a worker in the general population, says HSENI.
HSENI inspectors revealed the shocking figures during 12 workshops to the quarry industry across Northern Ireland. Workshops were supported by the Mineral Products Association and the Institute of Quarrying.
HSENI says workers have been instructed on the importance of taking protective measures to look after their lungs. Other respiratory diseases can stem from exposure to dust such as silicosis, lung cancer and impact on other vital organs, the company adds.
Ken Logan, HSENI principal inspector, says: “Industry have been working on the preparation of a strategy to deal with dust and limit the exposure to the workforce. It is now time to have these strategies fully implemented.
“The headline above is clearly not acceptable and more needs to be done to reduce the incidence of ill-health. With the help of industry the challenge is to turn this around within the next two years.”
Looking ahead, HSENI is to launch an inspection initiative early next year where inspectors will carry out site visits to ensure effective strategies are being implemented by the industry.