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26/07/2018

Exposed to dust at work? Never fear - Napo is here to help you stay safe!

Our beloved occupational safety and health (OSH) hero Napo is back! This time with a film on the dangers of dust at work. Learn, share and laugh along to his latest adventure highlighting the importance of controlling exposure to dust to avoid ill health and work-related accidents.

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Dust can be a problem in almost any industry – even bakers and cooks can develop severe breathing problems from working with flour. Many work activities can create dust, such as weighing loose powders; milling, grinding or sanding; feeding livestock; cleaning and maintenance work; and construction-related activities.

The harmful effects of dust can vary, from skin irritation to lung cancer, depending on the composition of the dust and the type and degree of exposure. Luckily Napo is here to help, in his typically funny and engaging way! Napo in…dust at work shows how exposures can occur and what steps to take in a number of situations.

  • ‘Flour power’ reminds us to work with care and to take our time. Remember to keep your workplace clean and tidy, and to start mixers on a low speed setting until wet and dry ingredients are combined. This will protect you from the risk of exposure.
  • ‘Double danger’ shows how dust can form a flammable dust cloud. So don’t carry out 2 incompatible tasks simultaneously, as you may end up causing flammable dust to explode!
  • ‘Cutting edge’ highlights the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE). Use PPE to prevent accidents, but be sure to select the most adequate equipment to protect your health and prevent work-related diseases as well. Use PPE when risks are unavoidable or to complement technological measures such as ‘wet cutting’, which can be seen in this scene.
  • ‘Dusty dinner’ demonstrates how you can use technological solutions to avoid the risks from using loose powdery substances like animal feed. This will not only protect you but keep your animals safe too.
  • ‘Wood dust’ underlines the role of employers in putting in place the necessary preventive collective measures to keep workers safe and healthy – like extraction in this case. Make sure to use such measures prior to PPE when possible. The correct use and maintenance of measures and devices is also essential.
  • ‘Explosive mix’ is devoted to safety risks and work-related accidents. It shows how you can avoid explosion risks, such as when drilling, and the importance of proper warnings in the form of safety signs where necessary – to avoid unnecessary risks to workers.

The film shows how ill health resulting from exposures to dust is bad for business as well as workers’ health. However, it’s easy to avoid the costs resulting from absent workers by following the legislation in place.

An important thing to remember is that dust is often an invisible risk. Particles which cause the most damage are often invisible to the naked eye. The health effects can also take years to develop.

If you missed it first time around, watch the film again and you’ll notice short clips with music, in between the main ones, that also cover other potentially risky tasks or activities that produce dust. Why not use these to stimulate discussions or for training purposes in your workplace.

If you enjoyed this film, why not download some of the other fun-filled Napo films related to dangerous substances available on the campaign website. And don’t forget to follow the campaign on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter (#EUhealthyworkplaces).