Identify the risks that cause occupational lung diseases
Not all hazards in the workplace are visible.
Safe Work Australia’s Clean Air. Clear Lungs. campaign focuses on industries most at risk of occupational lung diseases. This article looks at common hazards in two high risk industries, engineered stone and agriculture.
Engineered stone workers can be exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust that can cause occupational lung diseases. Tasks where workers can be exposed to silica dust include:
- cutting, grinding, sanding, drilling and polishing engineered stone
- cleaning up the workplace after silica dust has been generated
- disposing of silica dust.
Agricultural workers work with a range of chemicals and are often working in dusty environments. Tasks where agricultural workers can be exposed to hazardous substances that can cause lung diseases include:
- creating dusts from wood, ash, animal waste and animal hair
- working with pesticides, welding and adhesives that create vapours and fumes
- working around moulds and fungi in areas such as sheds
- working with or around dusty grain, fertilisers and feed produce
- breathing in fumes and vapours from seed, grain, and fruit fumigation processes.
Reviewing model Codes of Practice, safety data sheets and labels of products can help with understanding the risk to workers and implementing effective control measures.
You can learn more about identifying the hazards in these industries using the tailored case studies, information sheets and checklists available on the website www.swa.gov.au/clearlungs.
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Translated information is also available for culturally and linguistically diverse workers and employers.