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Association aims to combat 12,000 workplace respiratory deaths

06 October 2017

The Extraction Manufacturers and Designers Association (EMADA) has been formed by manufacturers and designers of dust and fume extraction systems to ensure best practice and support the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in its mammoth task of reducing the impact of poor work practices.

Workplace extraction and ventilation is critical to the health and wellbeing of employees and despite many employers appreciating this position, UK industry is responsible for 12,000 workplace related respiratory deaths every year.

This statistic is also responsible for more than 400,000 lost working days every year and there is approximately 14,000 new workplace breathing or lung related conditions reported every year. This demonstrates that workplace respiratory health is an ongoing battle for industry.

EMADA will collaborate with industry, the HSE and other bodies to ensure best practice is maintained and that future legislation is evolved through the support of industry experts to meet the ever changing demands of the workplace. By helping the HSE to drive compliance and provide industry expertise and input regarding existing and future legislation, EMADA is aiming to reduce the toll of illnesses and deaths through work related respiratory issues.

At a launch event, held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, EMADA association chairman Paul Rowlands said: "By forming this association, we are creating a conduit between the industry experts and the HSE. There is already a good level of regulation and guidance from the HSE, but there remain opportunities for improvement in many systems and their application. Lung latency is a ‘long term’ workplace accident and EMADA is taking a moral imperative to push best practice to industry. The statistics around workplace lung health are staggering and if the issue is not addressed it will place a burden of an extra £1bn each year on the NHS within the next 20 years. This is not a legacy issue but a real time concern we must all address.”

Also addressing the members at the newly formed association was Sarah Mallagh, head of health & chemicals unit at the HSE. Sarah mentioned to attendees that: “Many employers overlook controlling contaminants at-source and look to PPE equipment as a solution. We need to inform, instill and even enforce the message that ‘control at-source’ through effective Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are the best-practice solution to a healthier workplace. We can appreciate that the HSE isn’t always the best vehicle for delivering this message, so building a relationship with EMADA, the wider industry and creating priorities and stimulating activity among industry is a new strategy to tackling occupational lung disease.”

“The HSE has just re-published the HSG258 ‘Control of Airborne Contaminants at Work Guide’ and the new guide has shifted the emphasis from the supplier to the employer. We have also launched the ‘Healthy Lung Partnership’ and we will be hosting a ‘healthy lung’ summit in November. We are aware of the huge task at hand and by moving emphasis and responsibility onto the employer; we will aim to make an impact on these statistics and overall workplace health.”

The EMADA association is welcoming applications for membership from extraction manufacturers and designers.