Prevention of dust exposure in demolition work in Denmark – a participatory approach intervention

S. Grøn, H.J. Limborg, A. Kabel, P. Kines

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Risk of exposure to silica dust is a well-documented health risk for construction workers, particularly in demolition. Despite effective exposure prevention measures, silicosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) continues to be a widespread disease among these workers. This is partly due to the tasks and materials they deal with combined with factors such as a low degree of regulation and guidelines, as well as turbulence with subcontracting labour. An intervention program was developed and pilot tested to prevent demolition workers from exposure to silica dust using a participatory approach, based on the principles for knowledge transfer and exchange. The program was developed in collaboration with the demolition industry partners, stakeholders from participating companies and demolition crews at a total of nine sites. Experiences were documented from on-going meetings and semi-structured interviews. A ‘dust reduction’ tool was developed whereby site specific plans were drawn up and implemented based on an audit, a safety conditions- and behaviour observation method, and a template for briefings (toolbox talks) for the demolition teams. The participating companies found the tool useful, however, the motivation to further use the tool varied greatly, depending on organizational level. The most difficult group to motivate was the demolition crews due to issues related to the fragmentation of the labour force within the industry. The management level group found that in order to continue to use it the tool, they would need to be able to integrate it in their safety management systems and find support from guidelines and regulations developed specifically for demolition work. We conclude that providing a method to nurture a dust prevention culture in demolition companies could be a valuable part of a coordinated multisectoral strategy. This strategy could include developing relevant and coherent regulations enforced by the work authorities or the industry bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event5th SRA Nordic Conference: Risk Management for Innovation - IDA Conference Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 7 Nov 20198 Nov 2019


Conference5th SRA Nordic Conference
LocationIDA Conference Center
Internet address

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