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Arco Welcomes New Report on Respiratory Protection and The Risks of Silica Dust

11 January 2023

In 2020, Arco provided testimony to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Respiratory Health and its investigation into the dangers of exposure to silica. The initial report - Silica - The Next Asbestos - published that year, cited Arco's evidence in the report findings.

A follow up report, published, 10th January 2023, goes further in looking at risk reduction strategies that can play a key role in decreasing exposure and ill health, reducing the burden on healthcare services and helping to save lives.

Once again, the APPG engaged with leading organisations and industry experts, who provided evidence on better prevention, revisiting key issues identified in the initial inquiry. Arco submitted evidence for the new report and has been cited in key areas of the findings.

Arco recommended that the most effective ways of reducing exposure can be achieved by following the hierarchy of control, eliminating, substituting, isolating or introducing engineering controls to extract crystalline silica from the manufacturing and construction process. Arco also stated that dust monitoring is vital, referencing advances in technology that provide real-time exposure level monitoring. Arco believes that without real-time monitoring, it is impossible to prove that exposure levels are within the Worker Exposure Levels (WEL).

Arco fully supports the inquiry's recommendations, particularly increasing education and awareness of the risk of exposure to silica dust through compulsory modules in construction industry apprenticeship training and further education courses and making use of the latest technology for real-time monitoring.

Kevin Williams, Respiratory Manager at Arco, said:

"We all know that respiratory illness can cause serious health problems, disability and even death to those exposed unnecessarily to risks, such as silica dust. We also know that these risks are often preventable and we are pleased to have contributed to the work of the APPG on Respiratory Health in this follow up report. We urge the Government to act on the findings so that we can work together with our industry partners and regulators to help reduce the risks for those working in some of our most critical industries."

Read a copy of the report here.

Further information on how to protect workers against silicosis can be found here.