Print
Request Appointment

Understanding Respiratory Hazards

Many tasks, both at work and at home, can cause respiratory hazards. The length of time you're exposed, how often you're exposed, and the concentration of the hazard all add to your risk of having health problems.

Dust, Fumes, Mist, Smoke, and Fog

These hazards occur in many ways. Dust can form when substances are broken down into smaller pieces. Fumes and smoke may be released into the air with temperature changes. Mist and fog may occur when substances are sprayed. Some of the tasks that may expose you to these hazards include:

  • Welding and torch cutting

  • Drilling and grinding

  • Smelting and furnace work

  • Painting and plating

  • Spraying and cleaning

  • Garden spraying

Gases and Vapors

Gases and vapors may have no smell, taste, or color. Gases can be released with temperature changes or after a container is opened. Vapors may be released as a substance evaporates. Certain gas and vapor exposure can quickly cause injury or even death. This is called an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) situation. Some of the tasks that may expose you to these hazards include:

  • Cleaning with solvents

  • Heating certain liquids

  • Laboratory work

  • High-tech manufacturing

  • Chlorinating water

  • Food processing and ripening

Oxygen Deficiency

When oxygen levels drop below 19.5 percent, your life is at risk. Confined areas, areas with certain gases, or areas where there are fires can cause an IDLH situation. Some of the tasks that may lead to a life-threatening oxygen deficiency include:

  • Tank cleaning or maintenance

  • Working in manholes

  • Firefighting

 

Was this helpful?

Yes No
 

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.
 
 
 
 
 
NEXT ▶

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

 
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
 
 
(c) 2012 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.