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World Asthma Day – 7th May 2019


World Asthma Day – 7th May 2019

Asthma is a very serious health problem that can ruin lives.

Asthma attacks occur when the airways of the lung become narrowed causing an obstruction to the flow of air. Symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and a tightness in the chest. During an asthma attack the muscle wall contracts and the lining of the airways becomes swollen and inflamed, these changes cause the airways to narrow.

5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12). The UK still has some of the highest rates in Europe and sadly on average 3 people a day die from Asthma.

Asthma can be caused in a workplace simply by breathing in certain dusts, gases, fumes and vapours that can damage your lungs. There are many things you can do as an employer to reduce the risk of occupational asthma in your workplace and to ensure a safe environment is created for all.

COSHH

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations require employers to control exposures to hazardous substances to protect employees’ health. Employers must assess the risk of exposure (exposure means taking in chemicals by breathing in, by skin contact or by swallowing).

COSHH requires you to consider the substitution of harmful products with less harmful ones and requires that all controls be kept in good working order, including: • Mechanical controls (local exhaust ventilation (LEV), protective gloves) • Administrative controls (supervision) • Operator controls (following instructions)

Health surveillance means regularly looking for early signs of work-related ill health and putting procedures in place to achieve this. The purpose of health surveillance is to monitor and protect the health of individual employees. Collecting simple information may lead to early detection of ill health caused by work and identify the need for improved control measures. All employees exposed or likely to be exposed to an asthmagen should receive suitable health surveillance.


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