Equipment that runs on diesel is quite common in a number of industries. This includes construction sites, mining, farming, maritime and several other such sectors.
Workers in these areas are exposed to a great deal of carcinogen exhausts from such machinery. This is typically in the case where machines are not properly handled and maintained.
Emissions from such equipment are made of “Diesel Particulate Matter”. ,This is a substance that “is made of soot and is comprised majorly of metallic particles, ash, carbon, silicates and sulfates” according to OSHA.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified exhausts from diesel machinery under “Well-known Hazards for the Human Health” in 2012.
Even temporary exposure to exhausts and emissions from diesel equipment can lead to issues. These include constant headaches, dizziness, and irritation in the eyes, nose & throat. Long-term exposure could cause the development of more serious issues. These include breathing conditions, cardiopulmonary and cardio conditions, and even lung cancer.
Given the health threat, managing the exposure to such emissions is highly necessary.
First, make sure there is adequate supervision in place to limit the exposure of any workers. OSHA further suggests that equipment receive regular maintenance. It also suggests aging equipment be swapped out for cleaner burning engines. These should be equipped with better air filtration systems.
Second, be sure adequate safety controls are in place. For example, creating “Off-limit” areas is a great way to limit the pool of people at risk for exposure. Likewise, limit the times when machines are running so the fewest workers are around when the machinery is operational.
Smart preventive measures like these can reduce the exposure to diesel exhausts to a great extent. Plus, they can be implemented in a way that still allows a team to work at maximum efficiency.
A side benefit: By limiting diesel exposure you can help reduce workmans’ comp claims. You’ll maximize worker availability. You’ll also have a positive impact on your overall operational costs.