With the HSE reporting that, each year, around 12,000 people die from work-related lung diseases linked to past exposure to hazardous substances at work, today we are highlighting this breathtakingly (sorry) high number of incidents related to chest problems from breathing in: dusts from harvesting or handling grain, mixing animal feedstuffs, feeding animals, handling mouldy hay or bedding and waste products from animals or poultry; or vapours from slurry, silage, welding fume, some veterinary medicines and disinfectants!
Being exposed to these dusts, vapours or chemicals at work for even a short period of time may cause unpleasant irritation or inflammation in your nose, throat or lungs. Longer exposure, however, may lead to more serious chest issues, including asthma, chronic bronchitis and farmer’s lung.
Symptoms can be short-lived at the time of a job or they may get worse and last longer until they are almost always present. After a while, they can be set off by even very small exposures to any substance to which you have become allergic, or sensitised. Sadly this means you’ll be unable to work with those substances without having a major impact on your health. You may even have to stop farming.
So, as the combines start to roll this harvest season, a risk that often gets overlooked, is ill health resulting from breathing in dusts or chemicals, including harmful dusts from harvesting or handling grain. Thankfully the HSE have some really useful guidance which outlines how you can control your exposure to these dangerous substances which could devastate, not just your life, but your business and your whole family’s way of life.
So take a look at their guidance. You never know, it ‘chest’ might save your life…
For more information please visit Health & Safety Executive (HSE) – Agriculture – Lung disease (hse.gov.uk)