Cancer and construction

Historically construction workers have been at greater risk of developing cancer from their work than any other industry group. Unless the risks are properly managed, the dangers of developing one of these diseases will remain. The relevant sections below outline information about what you need to know and do.

  • Key points - HSE has published research that produced an estimate of the burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain due to past exposures. Find out key points about these cancer issues.
  • Asbestos - asbestos is the biggest cause of death amongst construction workers. Understand more about asbestos and how to control the risks from it.
  • Silica - silica is the second biggest killer of construction workers after asbestos. Find out more about silica and how to control it.
  • Diesel engine exhaust emissions - there is evidence that significant exposure to harmful diesel fumes over many years increases the risk of lung cancer. Learn more about the risks and the steps to take.
  • Painters - painting work has also been linked to a significant number of cancer deaths. Find out more about this.
  • Skin cancers - skin cancers can be caused by exposure to solar radiation and hazardous substances. Find out more about the types of skin cancer and the risks of developing them.

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Updated 2023-11-30