CUSTOMER SERVICE: (604) 253 4588

Treen Safety Respiratory Awareness Month (October)

By treenadmin, 10/19/2017 - 14:39

October is Respiratory Awareness Month; this month’s focus is to share information on respiratory hazards and to build awareness on preventative measures to limit occupational exposure to toxic air. The global threat of air pollution and presence of hazardous materials in the workplace can lead to serious respiratory issues, disease, and even cancers. Amongst the most at risk are individuals in mining, fabrication, and construction industries. Hence, it is important that workers are aware of the harmful contaminants in their work environment to ensure they receive adequate training and safety equipment to perform their duties. This blog highlights the common airborne contaminants along with tips for selecting the correct training course, respirators, and protective clothing.

What Should You Be Aware Of?

Materials technology, specifically manufacturing and construction applications, has come an extremely long way since the late 1900s. However, there are still some processes or products that contain carcinogenic additives and loose safety monitoring policies. This directly impacts air quality and puts employees at risk for developing occupational lung diseases and cancers. Although exposure to harmful airborne contaminants varies based on specific career and the duration of contact, there are a number of pollutants that are common to multiple industries and applications.

Crystalline Silica- Silica is one of the most widespread minerals on earth. It’s most commonly found in quartz, which in turn is used in products like concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, and many other stone products. Quartz becomes crystalline and airborne when exposed to high heat or intense pressure like abrasive stripping, cutting, or crushing. Once inhaled, the microscopic particles make their way deep into your lungs which, in turn, causes scar tissue development and nodule growth around the invasive material. For more information please read Crystalline Silica: Respiration and Health Risks.

Welding and Metal Fumes- The primary airborne contaminate in arc welding is welding fume. Welding fume is a complex mixture of very small particles of metal oxides. The specific contaminate production depends on the composition of the welding electrode, base metal, surface coatings and the type of shielding gas or flux. Manufacturing and fabrication of metal products releases welding fumes. Welding fumes that are high in concentration can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, or even death and frequent exposure to low concentration welding fumes can cause the development of occupational asthma or COPD.

Asbestos- The crystalline structure of asbestos is nearly identical to that of silica, and therefore is extremely hazardous if it becomes airborne and is accidentally inhaled.  Most commonly, asbestos was used as a heat resistant additive in automotive, construction, and manufacturing applications through the early 1990s, and could still be contaminating old buildings. The removal of asbestos is extremely dangerous unless performed by a trained and properly equipped asbestos abatement professional. The reason asbestos is so hazardous is because the friable fibers can get trapped inside the body and attach to the lungs, and can spread to the abdominal lining or heart. Although the risk of asbestos exposure and its resulting disease, mesothelioma, has been known for nearly 3 decades, late stage diagnosis is still extremely common. To learn more about life expectancy and survival rates click here, and see why prevention is key to avoiding such a serious illness.

Protect Yourself With The Right Equipment

Treen Safety is committed to workplace safety and helping workers to mitigate risk on the job. We have a comprehensive and adaptable training program, we can cater to small or large groups on or off site. Our Respiratory Training and Fit Testing program is specifically designed for workers and supervisors who want to become respirator fit testers. The training program includes the following topics:

●        What is a respirator

●        Types of respiratory hazards

●        How to select the right respirator

●        Checking the seal on a respirator

●        How to perform a fit test

●        How to care for and maintain respirators

Additionally, Treen Safety provides a wide selection of respirators; to view the variety of products please refer to the Treen Safety Respiratory Catalog.   

It’s easy to ensure a safe workplace; it starts with being aware of the work surroundings, immediately addressing potential hazards, and maintaining a mutual trust with co-workers. It is important for employers to implement and monitor robust safety policies and procedures and encourage continuous learning about respiratory hazard prevention and awareness. Similarly, it is important for employees to follow these safety policies, and procedures to keep themselves and their co-workers safe.