Are you looking for ways to better support your employees’ lung health?
When we talk about work-related lung conditions, we’re referring to a range of illnesses that can be caused or exacerbated by breathing in airborne contaminants which damage the lungs.
Some examples of job roles which are more at risk for breathing and respiratory issues include quarry and stone, construction, and demolition workers. This is due to the dust levels — a substance that can be harmful when inhaled in large quantities.
That’s why we’re using this blog to share what you can do to mitigate the danger to your employees, as well as to outline some of the most common signs of lung problems:
How To Prevent Respiratory Issues For Employees
If any respiratory issues are believed to stem from the workplace, it’s your responsibility as the employer to manage the risks your teams encounter, minimising exposure to contaminants as much as reasonably possible.
In order to achieve this, control measures that you could put in place include:
- Eliminating the use of the hazardous substance completely;
- Substituting the hazardous substance with a safer alternative;
- Removing emissions through exhaust ventilation;
- Providing respiratory protection equipment (RPE) and additional personal protective equipment (PPE).
Removing Dust Through Ventilation
As an employer, it’s important that you are equipped to manage workplace hazards and implement ways to mitigate the dangers of dust.
At Dustcontrol, we recognise that protecting your employees’ lung health ensures they can perform at their best, contributing to the success of your business whilst fostering a culture of care and responsibility.
With our mobile dust extractors and fixed extraction systems, we help companies like yours all over the world to achieve more efficient production, better production quality, and a cleaner working environment.
4 Signs of Lung Problems To Look Out For
1. Persistent Cough
Coughing is a common occurrence. Whilst most people experience occasional episodes throughout their lives, a persistent cough lasting for weeks can signal underlying health issues.
A persistent cough may manifest as either moist/productive or dry. Beyond being a mere annoyance, it can also disrupt sleep and lead to fatigue.
If your employee has had a persistent cough for over three weeks, it would be best for them to consult their doctor. In addition, you should be prepared to identify and mitigate any potential hazards if the inhalation of workplace contaminants is deemed responsible.
2. Shortness of Breath
Whilst breathlessness is a common symptom of poor lung health, many people automatically attribute it to other factors such as lack of fitness, being overweight, or ageing.
Yes, shortness of breath can be a natural response from your body indicating the need for more oxygen during active movement or exercise. However, if there is no obvious reason for your employee to be experiencing breathlessness, that’s a warning sign that something bigger could be at play.
Again, the next step after noticing this symptom should be for your staff member to consult a medical professional.
3. Frequent Respiratory Infections
A respiratory infection, also known as a chest infection, occurs as a result of either bacteria, viruses or – less often – fungi in the lungs.
As a result, airways swell up and produce excess mucus, leading them to become blocked and making breathing more difficult.
If your employees are experiencing a high frequency of these infections, it may well be linked to poor air quality due to airborne contaminants in the workplace.
Usually heard on the exhale of the breath, wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound caused by inflammation or swollen airways.
Whilst asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the commonplace causes of wheezing, it can be sparked by other factors such as the respiratory infections mentioned above.
It’s important to look out for any wheezing, no matter how slight, as it could be the first sign of a bigger issue that needs timely medical attention from a trained practitioner.
If you’d like to learn more about how Dustcontrol can help your business, get in touch today.
Alternatively, why not read our previous post on why it’s time to reconsider your cleaning practices?
The content in this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, a substitute for professional medical advice from a qualified general practitioner.
Signs and symptoms, Lung Foundation Australia
Breathing, Healthy Working Lives from Public Health Scotland
Supporting employees with respiratory conditions, Healthy Working Lives from Public Health Scotland