Understanding the Dangers of Respiratory Hazards

Written by on 6/19/2017 2:04 AM in , , . It has 1 Comments.

Imagine how infinitely long the day would feel if every breath was a struggle. If you could never fully catch your breath, and with each passing day, the difficulty worsened. Seemingly innocuous workplace conditions can contribute to such serious respiratory issues that, sadly, the right workers comp management strategies would have identified and prevented.

Are your workers protected?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to merely look at a cloud of dust and determine if the particles within are a respiratory hazard. Many things can pose a threat, ranging from stone and concrete particulates, responsible for silicosis, to asbestos-related cancer and mesothelioma, to respiratory damage and disease from repeated exposure to chemicals.

An ounce of prevention…
Since only air sampling and lab testing can measure exposure limits, and each dust-cloud is unique, preventive techniques are integral to protecting employees, such as:

1. Eliminating or minimizing exposures.
This can be done through operational/procedural means, such as enhanced ventilation or air filtering measures, as well as through administrative control, such as through employee scheduling.

2. Personal protective equipment (PPE).
Put the right face on the problem, with the right mask for exposures faced:

  • Basic, NIOSH-labeled dust masks for particulates and dust.
  • Air purifying face fitting respirators, whose capacity varies by rating.
  • Air supplying respirators, which provide a safe, controlled air source.

3. A culture of safety.
When PPE is required, a written respiratory protection program is a must-have, including training on the plan, proper PPE use and maintenance, PPE limitations, and a designated and qualified program administrator responsible for regular evaluation and efficacy.

Breath freely, knowing your workers comp management needs are in the right hands. Contact Minnesota Comp Advisor today.

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