Managing the risks of contact with diesel exhaust

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

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

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 CEO Michelle Baxter said.

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

“Exposure can be greater 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.”

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 Safe Work’s 2015 virtual seminar series.

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