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Best Occupational Health Initiative 2012 MIller Homes - Management of Dust Exposure

Miller Homes was the proud winner of an NHBC Special Award in 2012 in the category of Best Occupational Health Initiative

We are delighted to have received this award which recognises the work we have undertaken over the last few years.
Dave Hickman, Safety, Health and Environmental Manager, Miller Homes

Tackling dust exposure on site

After recognising the risk presented by dust exposure to its employees, they have undertaken a range of work over the last few years to mitigate the risk for everyone on site, resulting in its award-winning 'Management of Dust Exposure' programme.

Recognising the hazard of dust inhalation on site

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Dave Hickman, Safety, Health and Environmental Manager at Miller Homes, who received the award, explained that dust is predominantly seen as more of a nuisance than a health hazard by the industry, which means the effect it can have on workers is often overlooked. Miller Homes' industry-leading programme has sought to develop a range of control measures and an education programme for its workforce to raise awareness of the real effects of dust inhalation and the practical steps to take to minimise them.

Respiratory protection to prevent long term health problems

Symptoms of dust exposure vary from irritation of the airways to chronic lung disease, so combating the problem at the source and raising awareness is vital in preventing any long term health problems.

Placing respiratory protection at the top of its priorities, Miller Homes encourages 'face fit' testing for its entire workforce so that protection fits properly and securely and guards against unnecessary exposure to dust. To emphasise the issue, and increase awareness within the organisation, Miller Homes also developed a range of promotional materials and guidelines for its sites and hosts regular workshops with employees and contractors on the issue.

Sharing data and best practice

As Dave Hickman explains, sampling was fundamental in showing people the true damage dust was causing to health. By sharing data gathered through the programme with fellow HBF members and developing guidelines through an HSE working group, a greater understanding and a more consistent approach to dust control has been developed and shared with the house-building industry.

This has created a clear benchmark in health and safety standards for others to follow.

Worker engagement at the core

By creating a culture of openness, Miller Homes has also ensured that the initiative is embraced by every member of its workforce. Voicing opinions and raising questions are encouraged and the workforce engagement has lead to a greater understanding of the importance of wearing dust protection.

The NHBC Health and Safety Special Award 2012

Dave Hickman said: "We are delighted to have received this award which recognises the work we have undertaken over the last few years. Work is still ongoing, but we have set the foundation for creating a workforce that understands the risks and has access to information and support available to limit their exposure.

"We have done this by engaging with our stakeholder groups throughout the process and supporting our contractors in compliance."

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