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Air pollution is killing construction workers




Among the measures it is calling for is the adoption of a workplace exposure limit for diesel engine exhaust emissions.

Air pollution is linked with up to 36,000 early deaths a year in the UK. It is considered the biggest environmental risk to public health. Research from King's College London suggests that more than 9,400 people are prematurely due to poor air quality in London alone. Ambient air pollution is linked to cancer, lung and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility and early dementia.

The British Safety Council has launched a report Impact of air pollution on the health of outdoor workers which provides evidence to recognize ambient air pollution as an occupational health hazard in Britain. In the report, the demands that spearhead are presented to limit the dangers of air pollution to the health of outdoor workers.

Several pilot schemes are beginning to monitor and measure the levels of air pollution experienced by people working and living in London. Their findings will be instrumental in developing recommendations for reducing people's exposure to air pollution in the capital.

However, the government and regulatory bodies, such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), continue to exhibit a lack of interest in regulation and guidance on air pollution, the British Safety Council says.

In March 201

9, the council launched its Time to Breathe campaign, which is focused on the protection of outdoor workers from air pollution. The cornerstone of the campaign is Canairy a mobile app that provides outdoor workers and their employers insights into pollution and how to reduce staff exposure to it. It has been created in co-operation with King’s College London. Canairy draws on the London Air Quality Network (LAQN) pollution map at King's and the user's GPS to calculate an individual's exposure to an hourly basis.

The new report "Impact of air pollution on the health of outdoor workers" is the next step in the campaign. It is available evidence of the causes and consequences of air pollution in Britain. It also reviews international examples of initiatives set up to measure air pollution in different locations and their recommendations for risk reduction.

 Related Information

In the report the British Safety Council is calling for:

1. The UK to adopt the World Health Organization's exposure limits for the main pollutants

2. Government action to ensure ambient air pollution is treated as an occupational health issue and adopt a workplace exposure limit for diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEE)

3. Improvements to pollution monitoring across the UK, so that all regions can have the same accuracy in emission data as London

4. Recognition that protects from the air pollution should be in law as a human right.

The Chairman of the British Safety Council is Lawrence Waterman, former head of health and safety for the London Olympic Delivery Authority and for Battersea Power Station. He said: “The impact of air pollution on people working in large cities is starting to be recognized as a major public health risk. However, we are yet to see any true commitment to addressing this issue by the government and the regulators.

"The Time to Breathe campaign, together with our recent report, is a call to action for policymakers , regulators and industry leaders. The social and economic implications of ambient air pollution are clear. It must be recognized as an occupational health hazard, much like some toxic substances such as asbestos. Breathing clean air is not a privilege but a basic human right for the thousands of people who are undertaking vital work outdoors. ”


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