Construction tools

Last year almost two million days were lost in the construction industry due to work-related ill health and nearly one million days due to accidents.

In a bid to reduce these figures, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a new tool to provide all construction companies with practical advice on how to tackle rising occupational health issues such as dermatitis, asbestos, respiratory diseases and musculoskeletal disorders.

Known as Construction Occupational Health Management Essentials (COHME), the web-based guidance tool is designed to help large construction clients, designers and contractors. It provides a single point of access to clear guidance on managing health risks, customised for construction.

The website also provides links to further material, including other parts of the HSE website and other useful websites and case studies giving practical examples of solutions developed or adopted in the construction industry.

The COHME tool can be viewed on the HSE website:

Asbestos: a terrible legacy

Thompsons has produced an update about landmark legal cases relating to asbestos related conditions, which will be of interest to anyone concerned with claims or potential claims for members with these illnesses.

It was only in 1930, with the publication of the Merewether and Price Report, that people started to understand more about the terrible danger in inhaling asbestos dust. It is now known that even minimal exposure causes a risk – with potentially serious or even fatal consequences.

As knowledge of the disease grew regulations were introduced, but enforcement was patchy and many employers didn’t reduce or prevent exposure to asbestos. The long period between coming in to contact with asbestos and developing an asbestos-related disease resulted in the situation we have today.

According to the Heath and Safety Executive, the annual number of mesothelioma deaths has increased from 153 in 1968 to 2,037 in 2005. It is possible that by 2011-2015 the number could peak at as high as 2,450. Lung cancer deaths which are related to asbestos are probably double this figure. And there are also victims of asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural plaques.

To read the update in full, go to: