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Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that “Effective and suitable provision shall be made to ensure that every workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh air”.
Adequate ventilation is very important in the workplace, employers will take a lot of time to ensure there is enough clean, fresh air circulating around the workplace.
Every workplace will have different requirements and procedures for fans and ventilation. Different areas at different times of the year will require different ventilation needs e.g., summer will require more air conditioning and winter time will require more heating. All of these factors can affect your respiratory system and your quality of work time.
When your working it’s important that you’re comfortable, it will be easier to work and you’ll be more productive and also not only are you avoiding respiratory problems but also your making the workplace a much safer area.
If you’re working in dusty environments, you may need to wear a dust mask or a respiratory mask, in more extreme circumstances you may need to put a complete respirator on. When working in enclosed areas or confined spaces you may need to put a complete breathing apparatus on.
You can gain training in the use of all this equipment separately but the use of a simple dust mask can be hugely beneficial. If it’s a hot day and you’re using a dust mask, you may find it uncomfortable but you must keep it on.
Dust particle can get lost in your lungs and cause minor issues from irritations to coughs or lead to long-term issues that may require doctor or hospital treatment.
The use of masks to prevent problems like dust can arise in all sorts of environments, the main example would be a woodworking factory with lots of sawdust, but it could also be in an office, you could be cleaning and tidying on top of the filing cabinets where a lot of dust has accumulated or in the stock room.
Dust can increase in loft spaces or in metal factories where fine particles of metal are produced and potentially mixed in with other substances such as oil.
You need to take extreme care whenever there’s a potential for dust, whether it be wood, metal etc. to keep yourself safe and wear the correct protective equipment provided by your employer.