COPD happens when the lungs become inflamed, damaged, and narrowed. The main cause is smoking, although the condition can sometimes affect people who have never smoked.
In this document from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), you can see increasing research evidence that COPD can be caused or made worse by exposure to dust, fumes, and gases in the workplace.
COPD has detrimental effects on the quality of life and financial costs because of time off work and medical treatment. The current COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating the issue too, with sufferers of COPD being listed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ and being asked to shield in areas of the UK where cases of Coronavirus are at their highest.
Research findings suggest that for Great Britain:
- Around 15% of COPD may be caused or made worse by work
- 4000 COPD deaths every year may be related to work exposures
- 40% of COPD patients are below retirement age
- A quarter of those below retirement age are unable to work at all
COPD cannot be cured and once it develops, the damage to the lungs is irreversible. However, you can help mitigate symptoms by reducing exposure to dust, fume, and gases at work that may be causing the problem.
As a business, we design, manufacture and install machinery that ensures your industrial workplace has clean air by effectively removing contaminants such as oil mist, oil smoke, dust, fume, and VOCs found in the paint for example.
Other respiratory diseases
According to the HSE report ‘Occupational Lung Disease statistics in Great Britain, 2020’, an estimated 48,000 people who worked in the last 12 months currently have “breathing or lung problems” they regard as caused or made worse by work – that’s enough people to fill Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium with some leftover!
As an employer, you have a legal responsibility under CoSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations to ensure you have effective control measures in place which could include Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) equipment. If you use LEV you must ensure that it is maintained in efficient working order so it continues to provide the necessary protection to your employees.
Regular servicing from Filtermist’s experienced engineers means any issues can be identified and resolved in between routine LEV Tests too.
If you don’t comply and your employees get ill this can be costly to a business, not to mention leaving your staff with life-changing illnesses. These are just a few examples:
- A car retailer operating across the South East of England was fined £120,000 after a car bodywork sprayer developed occupational asthma
- A Lincolnshire metal fabrication company was fined £12,000 for not complying with three improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) relating to testing wood dust and powder coating local exhaust ventilation (LEV), and providing LEV for welding fume extraction
An answer for everything
The‘Occupational Lung Disease statistics in Great Britain, 2020’ report also states that of those currently with breathing and lung problems and who had ever worked, the following factors were identified as causing or making their ill-health worse:
- 13% of cases – Airborne materials from spray painting or manufacturing foam products
- 7% of cases – Dust from flour, grain/cereal, animal feed, or straw
- 20% of cases -Dust from stone, cement, brick, or concrete
- 10% of cases – Airborne materials while welding, soldering, or cutting/grinding metals
Filtermist Systems supplies solutions to all of these problems through customized air movement and pollution control systems for all types of industrial airborne contaminants, with the offer strengthened by the brands manufactured by Filtermist International.
Filtermist Systems’ expertise includes delivering fully automated centralized air cleaning systems for clients across a wide range of industries including metalworking, automotive, aerospace, surface finishing, food processing, pharmaceutical, printing, packaging and converting, chemical, agriculture, minerals, and many more.
Filtermist’s turnkey service includes initial consultation and project planning, system design, specification, equipment manufacture and supply, installation, commissioning, and aftersales services including COSHH complaint LEV Testing.