Visits will be conducted by the national regulator over the next few weeks, concentrating on industries where occupational lung diseases and cancers are more common.
Inspectors will examine what measures have been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from hazardous airborne substances, such as dust derived from flour.
They will also seek evidence of businesses and their workers knowing the risks, planning their work using the right controls. And, where necessary, they will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.
HSE’s chief medical officer, Professor David Fishwick, warned that exposure to dust from materials including flour, asbestos, silica, and wood, could have life-changing consequences.
“Each year, work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers across Great Britain,” he said.
“In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly.
“These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs.”