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Two common occupational diseases and what you can do to prevent them

by , 15 September 2014
If your employees work with harmful substances, you need to be aware of the danger. Any of the activities they do at work could have serious affects on their health and their lives.

You need to know what kind of affects these activities may have so you can take steps to prevent them.

That's why today, we're revealing two common occupational diseases and how you can prevent them...

 

Ensure you protect your employees from these two common workplace diseases

 
#1: Arsenical Poisoning
Used as: 
 
Insecticides;
Wood preservative; 
Herbicides; 
In manufacturing of some glass and enamel products; 
Metallurgy; 
Textile printing; 
Tanning; and 
Some paints. 
 
It also occurs in nature in seafood.
Occupations at risk are paper factories, agriculture, metallurgy, forestry, electronics etc.
 
Prevention:  
Limit the exposure for arsenic compounds to 50ug/g creatinine.
Use personal protection methods including:
 
o Training on the hazards of exposure. The use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, respirators.
o Educating on personal hygiene, encouraging showers and clean working clothes on a daily basis.
o Medical surveillance determined by potential exposure.
 
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Three tips to get your employees to comply with health and safety laws
 
Employees think that safety is something 'management' must do. They're wrong. Employees also have duties to comply with the OHS Act.

It's your responsibility to make sure your employees comply. Don't know how to do it? 
 
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#2: Dermatitis
Regarded as the most prevalent and underreported occupational disease. It's likely that this happens because of corrosive and poisonous substances and agents such as:
Acids; 
Alkalis; 
Cement; 
Chromium; 
Oils; 
Greases; 
Thinners; 
Varnishes; and 
Paints. 
 
There are hundreds of different chemicals with irritant properties.
 
Prevention: 
 
Targeted health education is difficult. It's essential to use a pre-placement medical examination to establish if there's a confirmed history of allergic contact dermatitis. If so, find out what agent is responsible to prevent recurrence?
Gain knowledge of irritants and sensitising agents in your factory and make the information readily available to your employees.
Where possible, use alternatives with lower irritant levels, or use sensitising agents such as a high molecular weight epoxy resin instead.
 
The Health and Safety Advisor contains an extended list of the other 13 common occupational diseases and how to prevent them, so check it out. 
 

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