You may think that working in the painting and decorating industry means that you and your employees aren’t exposed to the hazards that may cause occupational lung disease. 

However, one of the common causes of occupational lung disease is construction dust – such as concrete, plasterboard and hardwood dust, as well as isocyanates which can be found in products including two-pack spray paint, adhesives, or varnish.

Workers can lower their risks of exposure to construction dust by wearing purpose-designed well-fitting face masks.  However, the B&CE advises that employers use control measures to reduce the risk to health and provide information, instructions and training to employees so that they understand the risks involved and what is being done to reduce them.

The B&CE also advises employers to provide regular health check-ups for each worker.  This will help to identify any early signs of ill-health, which will then enable both the employer and employee to take preventative action.

Occupational lung disease and symptoms to look out for

Occupational lung disease covers a range of conditions and illnesses including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), occupational asthma, silicosis, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Severe cases of occupational lung disease may not be noticed until years later, which is why employers and employees should look out for warning signs that may show the development of occupational lung disease.  These include shortness of breath, a persistent cough which may produce mucus, wheeziness, or frequent chest infections.

If you would like more information on the dangers of construction dust and the risk of occupational lung disease, read, “Lung disease in construction. How much of a problem is lung disease in the construction industry? And what can be done about it?” available on the B&CE website.