Dust at height can pose a real problem.
While safety when working at height has been hugely improved over the past years, working at height remains one of the most dangerous aspects of a construction site. However, one overlooked issue that can affect you, even when working at height, is dust.
According to the Building Safety Group, a recent analysis of 16,000 site inspections over the past 12 months confirmed what many had already suspected – dust is the leading health hazard for construction workers. Making up 41% of occupational health infringements recorded on UK building sites, dust is a potent and dangerous material. With microscopic particle sizes, dust can get lodged in the mucus membrane in the lungs, cause allergic reactions, trigger asthma attacks, and potentially lead to problems such as bronchitis and COPD.
Such issues and diseases are why wearing adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) is of paramount importance when working from height; as you will be working more closely to sites that will have often been undisturbed for many years, there is a high risk of disturbing dust. So, even if you are not creating dust (by drilling, cutting, or abrading surfaces, for example) you can still be vulnerable to dust when working at height.
To overcome this, an adequate risk assessment, as well as an ongoing risk analysis, will highlight the need for the kinds of PPE you will need for the job you are on.