No matter where you work – whether it’s a confined office space or an open construction site, almost any place could be of potential threat to your health from aerosols and airborne particulates. The fact that dust hazards are usually not visible to the naked eye, is what complicates the situation, thus heightening the need for thorough dust monitoring. Moreover, effective monitoring of dust is the first step to implementing an effective risk management strategy.
What is respiratory dust?
Inhalable dust is exactly what the name implies! It enters through the nose or mouth and settles down in the respiratory tract. This generally includes particles that are between 2.5 and 10 microns. On the other hand, respiratory dust penetrates further inside – into the region of lungs where the gaseous exchange happens. This generally includes particulates that are between 1 and 2.5 microns.
Why should we monitor dust at the workplace?
There are two main reasons for monitoring dust at the workspace:
To enable air quality management
For regulatory compliance
Almost everyone is aware of the immediate effects that excessive dust in the air can cause. This includes irritation to the eyes, coughing, fatigue, constant headache, and sneezing. But there’s a lot more that happens, which we sometimes fail to take note of. Poor air quality significantly lowers employee performance and eventually leads to absenteeism through sickness. That’s not all! Particulates also lead to long-term issues and serious illnesses. In fact, studies have revealed that simply having natural ventilation in an urban setting may not be enough to improve the overall air quality indoors.
Thus, it is the responsibility of every employer or contractor to ensure that their employees or staff are not exposed to poor air quality at the workplace or work site. To make it happen, companies and businesses team up with services to monitor air quality. In fact, through proper monitoring and implementing the right risk management services, you can check exposure levels and come up with safe working practices.
Regulatory requirements to follow
No matter what the workplace, employers have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of all staff and employees. Moreover, the current regulations laid down require employers to assess the risks and protect the employees. So here are a few things that every company has to comply with.
Team up with a company that can assess the situation and suggests the right control measures.
Find out the key areas that are particularly of risk to the health of the employees through inhalation.
To check the exposure levels and find out if the prescribed limits are exceeded.
To come up with the right gear or respiratory protection equipment.
To check the exposure levels after following the change in the process.
To confirm if the situation demands an emergency health surveillance of all who’ve been at the workplace.
Such regulations usually include dust monitoring, vapor, chemicals, and fumes, but don’t include lead or asbestos, as specific regulations and requirements are in place for monitoring certain industries such as construction.
How can dust monitoring help?
We are already aware of the enormous number of premature deaths that happen due to excessive exposure to outdoor air pollution, but researchers have also documented and demonstrated the harmful effects of indoor pollution. Hence, no matter where you work, monitoring dust and following a proper risk management strategy is the only way forward in fighting this menace. Having said all that, while there are a number of ways for assessing the dusty situation, the choice of equipment depends on the extent of the threat and the objective.
Get in touch with a reliable and authentic company that can not only assess the situation well but can also suggest ways in which you can deal with the situation without affecting the health of your staff or the business prospect. Such processes provide real-time data and thus, come in handy in identifying key activities responsible for the heightened exposure to dust.