Safety Tips: Occupational Respiratory Disease

Occupational respiratory disease is any lung condition you get at work. It occurs because of repeated exposure to certain toxins. You can even get a disease long after being exposed to those toxins. Certain workplaces lend themselves to disease. The most common are coalmines and factories or areas with high amounts of toxins. These include asbestos and silica dust, as well as smoke, fumes, gases, and other particles.

Types of occupational respiratory disease include:

  • Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as Black Lung Disease.
  • Asbestosis.
  • Silicosis.
  • Farmers’ lung, also known as allergic alveolitis.

It also includes forms of asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema

Symptoms of occupational respiratory disease

The symptoms of occupational respiratory disease vary. They depend on your work setting, type of disease, and state of health. Smoking can worsen your symptoms.

Symptoms can be similar to those of a cold, the flu, or allergies, such as:

  • dry, scratchy, or sore throat
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • fever
  • tight chest
  • chest pain
  • muscle or body aches
  • breathing problems, such as shortness of breath or abnormal breathing

What causes occupational respiratory disease?

Many substances found in the workplace can cause disease. This occurs when the toxins irritate the lining in your lungs. Common causes include:

  • Dustfrom things such as wood, cotton, coal, asbestos, silica, and talc. Pesticides, drug or enzyme powders, and fiberglass also can hurt your lungs. Even cereal grains, coffee particles, and food flavorings used to make microwave popcorn can cause damage.
  • Fumesfrom metals that are heated and cooled quickly. This process results in fine, solid particles being carried in the air. Job examples include welding, smelting, furnace work, pottery making, plastics manufacturing, and rubber operations.
  • Smokefrom burning materials. Smoke can contain a variety of particles, gases, and vapors. Firefighters are at an increased risk.
  • Gasessuch as formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. These are found at jobs with high heat operations, such as welding, brazing, smelting, oven drying, and furnace work. You also are at risk if you work in a lab using chemicals.
  • Vaporsare a form of gas given off by all liquids. Vapors usually irritate your nose and throat before they affect the lungs.
  • Mists or spraysfrom paints, lacquers (such as varnish), hair spray, pesticides, cleaning products, acids, oils, and solvents (such as turpentine).

Can occupational respiratory disease be prevented or avoided?

Depending on your line of work, you might not be able to avoid occupational respiratory disease. You can try to limit exposure to reduce your risk of disease. Things you can do are:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Increase ventilation in work area.
  • Use a respirator. This is a device that covers your nose and mouth. It cleans the air before it enters your body. You should clean the respirator after each use.
  • Know and follow workplace safety precautions and first-aid processes.

Workplaces should have programs in place to monitor and limit exposure.

You can get more training from RCL Safety Centre thru https:

At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO

Our company (RCL Safety Centre) is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services.

We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.

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