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Metal dust can cause long-term health problems

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2021 | Workplace Risks

You might exclusively think of metal as something solid. Yet, like most materials, you can break it down. When you do so, it can release tiny dust particles, which can cause severe health issues when you breathe them in.

If you work in the modern mining industry, your employers will make it clear that metal dust is an issue. If your job involves cutting sheet metal, you probably notice the piles of dust and shavings built up on the ground around you. Metal is also an ever-present danger in many industries where people might be less aware.

Many paints contain metal. If you work spraying cars in a body shop, metal dust can be a real concern. Welding or repairing cars could also expose you to toxic dust. When you sand down a car door to repaint, the dust that covers your clothes and the sandpaper contains metal. When you get out the angle grinder to cut a rusted bolt, you also create metal dust. Even if you work as a cleaner or secretary in these places, you may be exposed to far more metal dust than is healthy.

Employers need to protect you from metal dust

The dangers of metal dust have been clear for years. Employers must limit the hazards to workers. The respiratory masks you often see bodywork sprayers wear are one example. The extractors you see in sheet metal plants are another. Even so, not all employers take adequate precautions.

Metal dust could damage your lungs, kidneys or nervous system. It could cause depression, sleep issues or cancer. If you believe your health issues are work-related, you need to find out more about claiming workers’ compensation.