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Health topics - Dust

What you need to know

In paper and tissue making and processing activities there is the potential for workers to be exposed to paper and tissue dust.  Being regularly exposed to high levels of dust in a workplace can affect the respiratory system and cause your workers to become ill.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) require that you protect workers from the harmful health effects of hazardous substances in the workplace, including the effects of dust.

What you need to do

Exposure limits

Dust of any kind, including paper and tissue dust, can become a substance hazardous to health under COSHH when it is present at concentrations in the air equal to or greater than 10 mg/m3 (as a time-weighted average over an eight-hour period) of inhalable dust or 4 mg/m3 (as a time-weighted average over an eight-hour period) of respirable dust. Paper and tissue dust do not have a specific work exposure limit (WEL) but are covered by these trigger values.

It is recognised that a large proportion of tissue dust is made up of cellulose this has a WEL set at 10mg/m3 total inhalable dust or 4mg/m3 respirable dust.

Assessment

It is important that you assess dust levels in your workplace by doing a dust survey to identify:

As part of the dust survey you may want to do static monitoring as well as personal monitoring to get a complete picture of dust levels within your workplace.

Control Measures

Once you have identified any dust exposure issues you then need to decide the best means of reducing dust.  Control measures can include:

Further Information

For further information on this topic please see the links below:

Updated: 2014-11-19