Clean Air in the Workplace

Posted by Pia Abrahams on

Graphic banner from Safe Work Australia promoting the third week of National Safe Work Month 2021 which focuses on clean air in the workplace.

The air your workers and others breathe at your workplace can be hazardous and cause serious lung damage.

Workplace exposure to dusts, gases, fumes, mists and vapours increases the risk of occupational lung diseases.

Clean air and clean lungs are the main focus of the third week of Safe Work Australia’s National Safe Work Month. It’s part of the “Think safe, work safe, be safe” theme for 2021.

Brenniston is a 100% Australian-owned family business and the leader in Australian-made workplace first aid. We’re proud to support this vital endeavour to increase the visibility and effectiveness of workplace health and safety for all Australian workers.

Under work health and safety (WHS) laws, Australian businesses have a duty to protect workers from hazards and risks in the workplace. Raising awareness about the responsibilities and control measures required to minimise and eliminate airborne contaminants that cause occupational lung diseases at the workplace is key to safer workplaces.

Safe Work Australia has partnered with Lung Foundation Australia to produce a range of helpful resources to assist businesses and workers to understand their WHS responsibilities, identify risks and manage control measures to reduce the risks.

Resources include information sheets, social media tiles, infographics and posters for organisations and workers to use to help spread awareness of occupational lung diseases.

National Safe Work Month 2021 - Occupational lung diseases

Occupational lung diseases are conditions of the respiratory system caused by workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals and dusts.

It’s important to keep your workers healthy and safe by identifying any hazards and managing the risks that can cause occupational lung diseases which include:

  • Silicosis
  • Asbestosis and Mesothelioma
  • Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis and mine dust diseases
  • Q fever
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Many industries are at high risk of occupational lung disease including construction, manufacturing, agriculture, mining and those who work with engineered stone.

Australian workers at a higher risk of developing an occupational lung disease include:

  • Manufacturing workers
  • Construction workers
  • Engineered stone workers
  • Agricultural workers

Businesses must implement work health and safety control measures to reduce identify hazards and monitor and control risks to keep workers from developing an occupational lung disease.

National Safe Work Month 2021 - Think safe, work safe, be safe

Investing in work health and safety at your workplace can help protect your workers and prevent them developing occupational lung diseases.

Manufacturing workers can be exposed to hazards in the air that are invisible to the naked eye, such as fumes and dust.

Construction workers can be exposed to hazards like dust from concrete and fumes from welding.

Engineered stone workers can be exposed to silica dust in all parts of their work process – from preparing and working on the slab, to cleaning up the workplace and disposing of waste.

Agricultural workers can be exposed to a range of hazards in the air, such as pesticides, chemicals, and fuels.

If you have identified hazards in the air at your workplace that could cause occupational lung diseases, implement and manage the risks by using safety control measures to protect your workers’ lung health.

By implementing work health and safety measures at your workplace you can identify, manage and control the hazards that cause occupational lung diseases.

Practice health and safety at your workplace and create a safety culture that reduces the risk of occupational lung diseases.

References

Safe Work Australia: Clean air, clean lungs

Lung Foundation: Know the rules when using your tools