Occupational Asthma (a new-onset asthma in which the underlying cause is exposure to an agent at work) is considered a work related illness and has led to numerous workers compensation claims in different industries over the past decade. Employers are legally responsible for informing their staff of general and specific hazards connected with their job and for providing employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Recent studies show over 40% of workers are exposed to one or more asthmagens in their workplace. According to Safe Work Australia workers in the farming, metal or wood and food preparation industries are most likely to be exposed. Businesses can take steps to minimise exposure to asthmagens in their workplace.
Occupational Asthma – Unlike at home, workers have less control at work over their exposure to certain irritants and allergens that can be harmful if inhaled and can cause asthma symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, etc).
3 ways how businesses can minimise asthma symptoms and exposure at work:
- Learn ways to limit your exposure to possible asthma triggers asthma triggers. Some triggers found in the workplace include mould, airborne dust, gases, fumes, and vapors, secondhand smoke, cleaning chemicals and scented personal care products, pests (dust mites, cockroaches, mice), stress. Common triggers for outdoor workers include: Outdoor air (ozone, particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides), diesel, vehicle exhaust
- Contact a healthcare provider as soon as workers start developing symptoms. Asthma can be controlled but requires two things – limiting or avoiding exposure to an asthma triggers and using asthma medicines as prescribed by you’re a medical professional
- Regularly review workplace ventilation and other protective equipment used by your workers
Employers are legally responsible for informing their staff of general and specific hazards connected with their job and for providing employees with a safe and healthy workplace. The above steps can help minimise these risks.