The Health Risks Of Diesel: Keeping Your Workers Safe

25 March 2015
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog

Workplace safety is a major concern in the industrial and manufacturing industry. Failing to keep workers safe can lead to injuries and deaths, and you could be fined or your business could be shut down. As an employer, there are some things you need to understand about diesel exhaust to help workers who have to work around it. Here's 3 potential health risks and how you can help your workers stay safe. 

Cancer: Particles and the Lungs

One of the things diesel fumes can cause is cancer. Diesel exhaust fumes are made up of small particulates, which tend to be elemental carbon and organic carbon. These aren't too bad on their own, but if polyaromatic hydrocarbons are present, then there's a risk that your employees could be exposed to them. These hydrocarbons are known to cause cancer in some animals, making it possible for them to cause cancer in humans, too. 

To help reduce this risk, ask your employees to:

  • Avoid standing near the exhaust pipes of a vehicle.
  • Wear a breathing mask for protection when being near exhaust fumes is unavoidable. In some cases, exhaust fumes can cause poisoning, so it's important to wear oxygen masks and protective equipment to avoid this. 

Eye Irritation: Particles and Eye Damage

Another thing you need to monitor is your employee's exposure to particulates and the effect of those particulates on the eyes. Because exhaust fumes have particles like dust, dirt, and grime floating around in them, employees risk irritation to their eyes whenever they're around the fumes. 

To help employees who are struggling with itchy, watery eyes after being around exhaust fumes:

  • Make sure you have an eyewash station. This station has special goggles that allow water to be sprayed up into the eyes, so they can be washed out correctly to remove particles. 
  • Suggest proper eye protection if employees need to be working around exhaust pipes or areas where lots of exhaust may be present. 

Headaches: Particulates and Head Pain

Another serious problem that can come from being around exhaust is carbon monoxide poisoning. This happens when a person breathes in enough carbon monoxide to prevent the correct oxygenation of the blood. When this happens, your workers will not get enough oxygen and face serious injury or death. 

Some symptoms of poisoning include headaches and feelings of being unwell. Light-headedness and confusion are also possible. 

To prevent these issues, make sure your employees only work with exhaust pipes and diesel engines while in wide, open spaces outside. 

These are just a few ways you can help keep your employees safe around diesel fumes and exhaust. Taking the time to adjust your work safety procedures now can save you a lot of pain later. Talk to diesel manufacturers, such as Ferrell Fuel Co Inc, for more safety precautions.