Safety fears over Worthing lamp-post work

Richard Wright W06010P12.
Richard Wright W06010P12.

SAFETY concerns have been raised over the replacement of 52,000 lamp-posts across the county.

Richard Wright believes the dust being created by the disc saws used on the project is toxic, and said he does not think enough is being done to minimise its risks to residents.

The 81-year-old, of Romney Road, Worthing, believes more should be done by the contractors on the project to prevent the spread of the hazardous dust, known as respirable crystalline silica (RCS) which can cause lung cancer.

Richard said: “I’m not an old busy-body, I’m one of the old school and I’ve never made a fuss about anything like this in my life, but the fact is this is quite serious.

“With a bit of support, we can get the workers to put all the things they should on their cutting equipment to minimise the dust.”

The pensioner said he is worried about the health implications for residents and the workers, as well as his wife, June, who has a lung condition.

The lamp-post replacement project is being undertaken by West Sussex County Council, and began just under two years ago.

It is one of the biggest street lighting projects in Europe to replace lamp-posts with older designs, which throw light in all directions and do not meet modern illumination standards.

The new lighting will direct light on to the road and pavements helping to reduce traffic accidents, crime, and the fear of crime, leading to safer streets, according to the council.

Richard added: “They are doing this across the whole of Sussex, so it’s a big issue. I just want them to make sure they are taking every precaution to do things as safely as possible.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesman, however, said the contractors were doing all that was required to minimise the spread of RCS.

“We have carried out an investigation into this and the work that SSE, our street lighting service provider, had done was to cut one slab to fit into a hole that they had excavated,” he said.

“They were adamant they used dust suppression, as they always do, which is in keeping with safe digging on the highway under health and safety guidelines.

“However, this is not always 100 per cent effective and on occasions a small amount of dust may escape.”