Health Topics - Respiratory

When are you at risk?

  • woodwork
  • cutting/mixing concrete
  • insulating
  • demolishing
  • welding
  • cutting MDF
  • maintenance
  • grit blasting
  • painting and removal of paint/finisher

What could happen?

  • chronic asthma
  • chest infections
  • coughing fits
  • pain and discomfort
  • breathing difficulties which could stop you working
  • breathing difficulties which could stop you living a normal life outside work

What are the warning signs?

  • bouts of coughing/wheezing and shortness of breath
  • tight chest and difficulty breathing
  • runny/stuffy nose or frequent sneezing
  • atery/itchy eyes and a tickly throat

What can you do to avoid problems?


  • control the risks from respiratory hazards by using substances, processes and working methods that cause the least generation of dust and fume
  • dust control measures such as wet dust suppression and the use of local exhaust ventilation should be employed to reduce exposures to hazardous dusts and fumes to below occupational control limits
  • use adequate and appropriate respiratory protective equipment to protect against residual risks
  • carry out appropriate health surveillance for workers regularly exposed to respiratory hazards


  • know what you are working with - read the health & safety data sheet or method statement or speak to your supervisor
  • keep your workplace equipment, including mask and clothing, as clean as possible from dust and contaminants
  • give up smoking if possible, as smoking can make symptoms even worse

For further guidance and free leaflets, click here.

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