Breathe Easy Week

Breath easy week, workplace dust

Breathe Easy Week – 18th June

Q) If you are drilling or sawing materials, who should know what they contain and if they present a risk to your health?

A) You.

Whilst employers are responsible for providing information regarding the health implications surrounding the work you carry out, if you have any concerns that the work may expose you to hazardous dusts then you are legally entitled to raise this with them.

The risks are developing occupational cancers such as mesothelioma, lung and nasal cancers as well as silicosis, asbestosis, asthma and COPD.

Wood dusts, silica and asbestos are just three hazards likely to be encountered by construction workers; however, there are other industries where employees may be exposed to significant respiratory hazards, such as engineering with aerosol mineral oil mists, isocyanate paints and even flour when milled and industrial baking.

As an employer, it is essential that you understand the risks you create and put in place suitable control measures to eliminate or reduce the hazardous substances your employees breathe in.  You may also need to consider putting in place health surveillance to ensure that the controls are effective.