A forthcoming conference is set to focus on the everyday health risks associated with working in the construction sector.

The Construction Health Summit will be attended by industry leaders and aims to build on work that has already been done to drastically reduce occupational diseases that can affect some construction staff.

It will be held in London on January 21 2016, having been organised by the Health in Construction Leadership Group, an alliance of contractors, clients, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other trade bodies.

Following on from recent efforts to improve safety practices on construction sites, the conference will seek to ensure health is given the same priority.

Estimates suggest that last year a greater number of construction workers were fatally affected by lung cancer and other occupational respiratory health conditions than by accidents on site.

Judith Hackitt, chair of the HSE, says it is vital to ensure the same effort that has been put into tackling on-site accidents is also applied to workplace health.

She said: “The number of on-site related fatalities has fallen by two-thirds in the past 10 years due to a concerted and joined-up effort by the construction industry.

“We can have a similar impact on the health of the workforce with an equally determined effort by the industry and its supporting organisations.”

Occupational health problems related to construction work include the breathing and lung problems that can come from inhaling dust and diesel emissions.

Skin inflammations such as dermatitis caused by exposure to hazardous materials can also be an issue, as can back injuries and limb problems produced after prolonged use of vibrating machinery.

The Construction Health Summit will seek to address this problem, looking at what can be done to bring about a significant reduction in the causes of ill health.

More than one million working days a year are currently lost to work-related health conditions.

Kevin Fear, CITB Health and Safety Strategy Lead, said: “The Construction Health Summit will be a great way to bring key industry figures together to tackle one of the major issues facing the sector.

“CITB is delighted to be involved in the event as members of the Construction Health Leadership Group. With 200 of the UK’s top construction firms present, we hope a way forward can be reached to reduce the occupational health risk to workers in the industry.”