Preventing work-related lung disease – how specialists can help

Specialists can help you deal with the risks of lung disease developing in your business. If you need help, find out how they can meet the needs of your business by providing services including:

Before you get outside help read our guidance on health surveillance and getting help to prevent work-related lung disease.

When you're clear on what help you need, find a consultant or adviser

Assessing risks across your business

A specialist can

  • assess your work-related lung disease risks – including observing working practices to fully appreciate the risks, context and demands of single or multiple or related tasks
  • prioritise your risks and provide advice on which risks are the most serious and need action sooner including:
    • how the hierarchy of controls should apply in practice in your business
    • control measures (including process changes, elimination, substitution, engineering controls, workplace organisation and equipment changes, and training needs and provision) and their cost effectiveness
  • develop arrangements to design, implement, monitor and review control measures
  • advise on:
    • the selection, use and maintenance of control equipment
    • holistic solutions including better use of equipment or providing more appropriate equipment
    • the appropriate controls for your industry
  • provide customised training
  • identify and implement appropriate management actions to help you prevent lung disease

You should be prepared to:

  • share your own risk assessments
  • allow time for a competent person to observe working practices
  • involve your employees and their representatives to ensure what you do to control the risks works
  • identify and deliver changes in attitudes and behaviours to improve risk awareness and effective use of equipment
  • invest in appropriate control equipment when the need is identified or recommended

Assessing specific risks

A specialist can:  

  • assess the likelihood of exposure from all routes (inhalation, ingestion, skin contact) - this may involve measurements of exposure and should consider the likely variation in exposure levels
  • identify and rank the main sources of exposure in the process
  • assess how well any existing control measures are working, identifying any deficiencies and recommend improvements

You should be prepared to:

  • share information about your processes
  • allow time for a competent person to carry out an assessment of exposures  

Implementing controls

A specialist can:

  • design engineering control measures – for example, to:
    • provide better containment of hazardous substances
    • design a (new) local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system to control exposure better or more reliably
  • set measurable performance criteria that each LEV system should meet to control exposure adequately
  • advise on appropriate process changes to give greater control of exposures
  • carry out face-fit testing on workers that may need to wear filtering types of respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  • train employees how to clean reusable RPE correctly
  • train your employees how, and why, to use the control measures
  • advise if health surveillance is necessary for your workers and if so in what form, the process, including who interprets the results

You should be prepared to:

  • share information about your processes
  • allow time for a competent person to fully understand your processes

Checking and maintaining controls

A specialist can:

  • advise if you need additional controls when significant changes are made to a process
  • examine and test any local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems as required by law
  • examine and test all RPE (typically monthly)
  • carry out
    • regular health surveillance where appropriate
    • medical examinations on employees where appropriate

You should be prepared to:

  • share information about your processes
  • carry out any recommendations in the reports of the LEV examinations, or document your reasons for not doing so

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Updated: 2021-03-31