Respiratory Risks in the Workplace: Staying Safe

Employees across the world have to deal with respiratory hazards while they work. Harmful dusts and infectious particles are virtually everywhere in the most common workplaces, which means workers of all fields are at risk by simply going to work. Managers have to do everything in their power in order to provide adequate respiratory protection to their employees.

Respiratory hazard protection is intricate in the way it promotes a safe environment using preventive measures. The process begins with a formal workplace hazard assessment. Performed by certified professionals, this assessment covers circumstances in which employees are potentially exposed to harmful and infections emissions and materials that affect air quality. These air quality tests require specific special equipment but can determine the source and scope of risk.

After the assessment has finished, a course of action should be put into place to mitigate and eliminate any perceived threats. It is suggested to approach hazard reduction through administrative and engineering controls. Administrative controls are changes made to employee tasks or how they are performed in an attempt to lessen exposure. This includes calculated scheduling, establishing written operating procedures and enforcing said procedures with signage.

Engineering controls are changes aimed at removing or diluting a hazard. For instance, a company can outfit a site with vacuum and ventilation systems to eliminate a threat from the air. Automated systems can also replace or minimize manual tasks which will limit exposure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is paramount when hazards are not able to be eliminated or adequately controlled. These innovations protect employees’ lungs from contamination and infection when worn and properly maintained. Examples of PPE include masks, respirators, supplied air systems and self-contained breathing apparatuses. These tools work to rid the air of harmful chemicals, filter out particles from the air or supply clean air from an outside source.

Occupational lung diseases are the most common work-related illnesses across America, despite being entirely preventable. It is important that those in charge make the necessary changes, invest in innovative solutions, and properly maintain their PPE in order to mitigate workplace hazards and protect their workers’ health.

To learn more on how to lessen respiratory risk at work, please see the accompanying guide.

Visit the Premier Safety website for information on gas detection equipment