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Recent research has revealed that construction workers want the industry to do more to tackle the problems caused by dust on the job.

According to the results of a new survey, 44% of workers feel that the industry puts 'very little' emphasis on controlling dust. Only 12.5% of workers thought that controlling dust was currently a priority.

The industry survey was carried out in partnership between the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the Construction Dust Partnership (CDP).

The research and information services manager at the IOSH, Jane White, said:

“The report clearly details that not only is the use of extraction and dust suppressant equipment [not appropriate], but the comments received also suggest that there is a confused picture about its availability, effectiveness and suitability for different tasks.”

As well as ensuring the right personal protective equipment (PPE) breathing apparatus is provided to workers, Ms White said there needs to be greater focus on 'information, instruction and training' about construction dust.

There are in the region of 500 deaths as a result of occupational cancer caused by silica dust in the UK each year. Other serious diseases such as asthma are also caused by silica dust, with face masks being an effective way to reduce exposure.

The survey polled the opinions of over 600 workers in the construction industry. Of the responses received, over 60% were from health and safety workers in the sector.

Despite greater focus being demanded, the survey also found that there is a general improvement in the control of dust in the industry.

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