Workplace also to blame for ‘smokers’ lung’ cases
Employees who are exposed to toxic airborne substances in the workplace are twice as likely to suffer from the traditional smokers’ diseases of bronchitis and emphysema, regardless of whether or not they smoke.
This is the conclusion of a study of some 2000 individuals randomly selected by a multi-disciplinary team from the University of California at San Francisco. The authors of the study, published in the September issue of the European Respiratory Journal, warned that 20 to 30 per cent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cases may be attributable to occupational exposure.
The study team classified the occupational risk factors into three categories, linking vapours, gases, and smoke released by combustion of various materials to work in blast furnaces and foundries, work using diesel engines, and fire-fighting. The group of workers most exposed to non-organic dust and smoke mainly comprised miners and metal-workers, while farmers, bakers and textile workers were exposed primarily to organic dust.
The study also found that only 19 per cent of the subjects suffering from COPD were still working, which, said the authors, emphasised “the pernicious effects of lung disease and its severe impact on sufferers’ careers”.
- Cardio2000, a Greek study, has found that even a short exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke increases the risk of developing acute coronary syndromes.
Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders
In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.
Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.