Why is Workplace Dust Dangerous?
Dust is an occupational hazard for all workers out there, from farmers and manufacturing plant workers to bakers and office employees. Here are just some of the different forms of dusts in different industries:
- Cotton dust, mostly from textiles such as cotton, wool, and even leather
- Metallic dust, mostly from cadmium, lead, and other industrial and manufacturing materials
- Mineral dust, mostly from coals, silicas, various rocks, and fibers such as asbestos
- Organic dust, mostly from grains, animal excrements, and other agriculture and farming materials
- Wood dust, mostly from wood processes such as cutting, sanding, and scraping
The secret to effective dust exposure prevention is to acknowledge that dust exposure is a risk present in the workplace and it needs an immediate solution. Both the employer and the employee should make the effort of preventing or at least minimizing dust exposure, but it can be argued that the employer has a bigger responsibility.
The employer can rely on simple tactics, like requiring an employee to wear adequate protective gear, or complicated tactics, like installing an adequate ventilation system that can filter dust, such as that from RoboVent.
But why is it so important to prevent dust exposure? It can be a health risk, particularly to the workers because they are the ones who are constantly exposed to the dust or particulate.
Eye Irritation – The eyes are particularly vulnerable if they capture particles, because they have the tendency to be irritated. This can be a minor problem, but it can be also serious, like when the temporary compromised or lost vision can cause an accident or a ripple effect in the workplace.
Skin Irritation – Dusts and other particulates may contain chemicals that irritate the skin, resulting into dryness, itching, redness, and even scaling. There are also instances where these chemicals cause skin cancer.
Lung Complications – Speaking of cancer, dust exposure, especially dust inhalation, may result into lung cancer. But cancer is not the only complication one can sustain, as there is asthma, emphysema, and pneumonia.
Explosions and Associated Injuries – Dusts, especially when collected into clouds, may also spark into a flame, explode, or both. These accidents may result into burns and traumatic injuries from blasts, fires, shockwaves, and flying projectiles.