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​Workers within the construction industry are at a higher risk for occupation-related disease than those in other professions. Hazards that lead to lung problems later in life are common, simply because of the nature of the work. Suffering long-term exposure to dust, chemicals and other irritants can cause a range of lung problems that can lead to cancer and other serious illness, even years after the actual exposure occurred.

There are approximately 13,500 cancer registrations and 8,000 cancer deaths each year due to occupational exposure. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also states that the construction industry has the largest burden of occupational-related deaths in all of the industrial sector, with many more living with breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work.

Without the right equipment, working in a construction job, whether that is in a self employed capacity or on a large building site, can clearly be a hazard to a worker’s health. Legally, it is the responsibility of the employer or main contractor to ensure that health and safety guidelines are followed on-site. Failure to adhere to these laws potentially puts lives at risk, and opens up a business to legal action down the line.

So what can be done to firstly protect professionals, and also ensure that companies and individuals aren’t liable for negligence?

Face fitting is essential protection

The best way to protect workers from the hazards that come with building demolition and refurbishment, is with respiratory protective equipment (RPE). There are several different types of RPE, and each one is designed to work within a certain environment and protect workers from specific hazardous materials. These could anything from dangerous chemicals to debris from the building, and the mask could be as simple as a visor, all the way up to a full hood. Whatever form it takes, RPE is an essential part of the modern construction site.

RPE protects the future lung health of those in construction jobs. The problem is, RPE won’t protect the wearer if it is poorly fitted. There are many reasons why an RPE mask wouldn’t fit, and often fit testing will need to be repeated when equipment is changed.

With something as important as lung health, ensuring that workers are fitted with the correct mask for their face, and the best equipment for the job, is vital. However, things like facial hair, scars and wrinkles can prevent a mask from properly working, especially if they were fitted by the untrained eye. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced mask fitter, someone that knows how to ensure there are no leaks or gaps where hazardous material may seep through.

Search tackles the problem

When new recruits turn up at a building site on Monday morning, ready to work, it’s not as simple as just getting on with the job at hand. They need to be fitted for equipment, and possibly multiple face protectors, depending on the project.

The Search Construction & Property team has the answer. Our team’s support doesn’t stop when new hires are made. We’ve specially trained up our recruitment consultants to make sure that they can support our temporary and permanent workers, and can keep them healthy throughout their careers by fitting them with a protective face mask.

Kirsty McErlain, Divisional Manager, is one of the Construction & Property team that has been trained to make sure masks fit the face of all our candidates.

“Our candidates’ health and safety is a top priority. Undertaking face fits and providing the official certification to go with it for each worker means our clients not only stay compliant with HSE regulations, but ensures the ongoing protection of our workforce” says Kirsty.

“Not all recruitment agencies provide such a service completely for free (if at all!) but this is just one of the many ‘value added’ services we offer to support our clients and candidates as standard.”

Gary Thorne, Site Logistics Manager, has used Search’s trained face fitters on several projects.

“The way the Search Construction & Property team go about their business is with professionalism, and the quality of the service provided is second none. I’ve been in the industry for quite some time and have dealt with construction recruitment agencies in the past – Search are head and shoulders above the rest,” says Gary.

“I personally haven’t found any other company with the attitude to work and customer satisfaction that Search provide, even when I need to have someone face fitted the same day, whether it be in Manchester or Liverpool, Search always get the job done. With a thorough determination to provide good quality service, Search put the health and safety of site operatives at the very top of their list, and for this I am very grateful.”

If you’re looking for your next construction job, or you’re a business looking to hire a whole team for your next project, get in touch to find out more about the free face fitting service that we offer all clients and candidates.