Chemical Hazards Health and Safety

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In developed and developing countries, overexposure to dust has resulted in negative implications such as permanent and temporary disabilities, diseases, and deaths. This paper seeks to discuss the controls of airborne dust including the ineffectiveness of dust masks in dealing with the problem.A dust mask is a flexible pad that has elastic rubber straps to protect the workers against dust that is generated from natural sources such as handling dusty materials or the generation of dust by cutting, grinding, and milling of materials. In many working places, the provision of dust masks to workers is a common feature that has turned out to be a poor occupational hygiene practice based on various issues. First, they do not provide eye protection even though eyes are also likely to be affected by the dust especially when grinding of metals and other wooden materials. For the workers who perform their duties in areas with chemicals, dust masks do not provide protection against gases such as ammonia (Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991). As a result, workers’ health has jeopardized an aspect that may affect their performance as well as the firms’ profitability.For the workers in an environment that is hot, dust masks can add to the heat burden that may result in more health problems. While some of the companies aim at producing dust masks that meet the needs of the customers, many of the models that are produced do not have adjustable head straps thus making them not fit well while they are being used. It is worth to note that misfitting masks provide a danger since they allow harmful materials to bypass the mask entirely (Methods for the Determination of Hazardous Substances in Air No 14). While the employees are working for example in areas which are dusty and the level of noise is high, communication between the workers is difficult. In their process of communication, the workers have to open their dust masks a practice that may expose them to dusty articles or dangerous vapor. Inward leakage at gaps in face seal is another issue that makes the dust masks to be ineffective in providing protection for workers.