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HSE visits to UK foundries to increase throughout 2023

Following the resulting levels of enforcement issued against UK foundries as a result of their silica campaign visits which ran from October 2022 until present, at the CHASAC (Castings Health and Safety Advisory Committee) meeting in January, the HSE have undertaken a review of the outcomes.  Given the high levels of enforcement issued both for control of silica, dusts fumes and vapours plus safety at work issues, the HSE have decided that there will be a much larger and broader scope of visits to UK foundries in the 2023/24 operational year.

The HSE are writing to all UK foundry Managing Directors about their obligations to keep employees safe from exposure to hazardous substances and to keep employees physically safe while at work.

Following on from this, it is expected that visits to UK foundries will commence in July 2023 and take place until the end of March 2024.  Any foundry operating in the UK may be subject to a visit from an inspector.

Legislation around exposure to hazardous substances and for ensuring safe workplaces has existed for a large number of years, in some cases for decades, so it is very disappointing and frustrating to see the level of enforcement that the silica campaign has generated.  The foundry industry is not alone in receiving a lot of visits as a result of an significant increase in the HSE looking at occupational health.  Construction, brick manufacture, cement, ceramics, woodworking, metal fabrication and others have also seen a large increase in visits and all sectors have seen very high levels of enforcement.

As a reminder, for any business that receives enforcement, the cost per hour of fee for intervention (FFI) from the HSE rose at the beginning of April to £166 per hour.