Helping workplaces manage the risks of contact with diesel exhaust

Helping workplaces manage the risks of contact with diesel exhaust (PDF 76kb)

22 October 2015

Safe Work Australia released guidance material today to help workplaces manage the risks of exposure to diesel exhaust.

Approximately 1.2 million Australian workers were exposed to diesel exhaust in the workplace in 2011, including drive-in booth operators, miners, construction workers, oil and gas workers, forklift drivers, loading dock workers, truck drivers, farmworkers, stevedores and vehicle maintenance workers.

Short term exposure to high levels of diesel exhaust can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation or even suffocation. Long term exposure can worsen allergies, increase the risk of heart and lung disease and increase the risk of lung cancer.

“Safe Work Australia’s guidance material provides information on how to manage risks associated with exposure to diesel exhaust in the workplace,” Safe Work Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter said.

The major source of workplace exposure to diesel exhaust is from heavy vehicles that use diesel like trucks, buses, trains, tractors, ships, bulldozers and fork lift trucks.

Other sources include mining equipment, bucket lifts and excavators. Diesel exhaust may also be generated from stationary power sources like generators and winch motors, including those mounted to vehicles.

“Exposure can be higher for those working in enclosed, poorly ventilated areas where the concentration of exhaust fumes can build up, like in vehicle repair workshops, tunnels, partially covered roadways and walkways.

“Safe Work Australia’s guidance material includes steps that should be taken in the workplace to eliminate or reduce exposure to diesel exhaust,” said Michelle Baxter.

For more information, see Safe Work Australia’s guide and information sheet about managing the risks of exposure to diesel exhaust in the workplace or watch the video about Dangers of diesel fumes for business as part of the 2015 Virtual Seminar Series.

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