CLEAN AIR. CLEAN LUNGS.
NOT ALL HAZARDS IN THE WORKPLACE ARE VISIBLE
Work processes can release invisible dusts, gases, fumes, vapours, mists and microorganisms into the air.
The air you, your workers and others breathe at work can be hazardous and cause damage to your health. It’s important to understand the hazards at your workplace – whether it’s a construction site, a factory, on a farm or if you work with engineered stone. Your workers may be at risk of developing occupational lung disease.
Occupational lung diseases are conditions of the respiratory system caused by workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals and dusts.
Types of occupational lung diseases
Pneumoconiosis is lung disease that is caused by breathing in certain types of dust. Commons types are:
- dust with aluminium (aluminosis)
- asbestos (asbestosis)
- dusts or vapours with beryllium (berylliosis, also called chronic beryllium disease)
- cotton dust (byssinosis)
- coal dust (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, sometimes called ‘black lung’)
- dusts of hard metals such as tungsten, tungsten carbide and cobalt (hard metal pneumoconiosis, also called hard metal lung disease)
- crystalline silica (silicosis)
- talc dust (talcosis)
Other lung diseases can be caused by breathing in:
- asbestos or wood dust (mesothelioma and other cancers)
- some chemicals or allergens, like pollen (asthma), some gases or fumes (chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD))
- exposure to the Coxiella burnetii bacteria in contaminated dusts and aerosols (Q fever)
FOUR KEY INDUSTRIES MOST AT RISK
- Manufacturing workers can be exposed to hazards in the air that are invisible to the naked eye, such as fumes and dust.
- Construction workers can be exposed to hazards like dust from concrete and fumes from welding.
- Engineered stone workers can be exposed to silica dust in all parts of their work process – from preparing and working on the slab, to cleaning up the workplace and disposing of waste.
- Agricultural workers can be exposed to a range of hazards in the air, such as pesticides, chemicals, and fuels.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS AN EMPLOYER?
Ensure that as an employer, you regularly:
- Identify hazards and assess risks
- Manage risks
- Monitor and review
If you need help in any of these areas, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team on (02) 9587 3500 or email your account manager. Together, we can help ensure #cleanair and #cleanlungs for your employees.
Original source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/clearlungs