Diesel is one of the most widely used fuels to power gigantic machinery in construction sites and workshops. Its popularity isn’t flawless since it has contributed its bit to environmental pollution in the form of diesel particulate matter.
In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about diesel particulate matter (DPM) and how to reduce its impact on the environment to be a safer and more eco-friendly diesel user.
What is Diesel Particulate Matter?
DPM stands for diesel particulate matter, and it is the particles of microscopic matter found in diesel engines. These particles are dangerous to human health, and you can find them in cars, heavy vehicle exhausts, construction sites, mines, workshops, or any place that uses diesel-powered machines.
Machines and vehicles that use diesel emit DPM when running or undergoing service and repair. While it may be pretty difficult to eliminate the exhaustion of DPM, it’s imperative to reduce the emission and put in place safety precautions to reduce its effects.
DPM Exposure in the Workplace
Workplaces remain one of the most vulnerable places to DPM exposure. Most of the machinery, vehicles or diesel-powered generators that emit this harmful chemical are mostly workplace equipment, which makes the topic of protecting workers from the dangers of DPM trendy.
It’s essential to note that the risks of a high DPM level are more elevated in poorly ventilated areas since these areas make it easier for the particles to build up, unlike well-ventilated sites.
Millions of Australian workers are victims of DPM exposure, and it gets worse every year. Some of the most affected include miners, oil and gas workers, heavy machinery operators, truck drivers, construction workers, and vehicle maintenance workers.
The mining regulators in Australia state that the diesel particulate exposure standard in Australia shouldn’t exceed 0.1mg per cubic meter in the workplace to curb this hazard. However, note that this figure is only a recommendation, and there’s currently no enforceable workplace exposure standard for DPM exposure.
Why Is DPM Dangerous?
Exposure to DPM can cause both short and long-term health complexities. For instance, it could lead to irritations, cough, phlegm, nausea, and even monoxide poisoning. Health practitioners have linked DPM exposure to worsening asthma conditions and increased risk of lungs and heart disease in more complex cases.
With the short and long-term effects of DPM evident, experts have suggested that there should be miner safety tracking to enhance protection from the adverse impact of high DPM levels. Regulatory bodies also recommend that workplaces should provide effective particulate monitoring to reduce the effects on workers’ health.
Monitoring DPM Risks
Managing the DPM level in a workplace is more complex than it seems. You’ll need the services of qualified health personnel and safety representatives who will provide a detailed plan of how to manage the DPM level in the workspace.
The safety representatives will tour the workplace, identify the machines that emit the highest diesel particulate matter, and look into the potential impact of the DPM that these machines release. Conducting this risk assessment will give you an insight into the type of control measures that may reduce the problem.
Additionally, workers should wear protective equipment when working with high-risk machinery to reduce their exposure to high DPM. However, respiratory protective equipment isn’t always enough for all conditions; sometimes, other precautions may be needed.
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Constant supervision and risk assessment are essential in the workplace or any other place that may be a high risk for DPM. The factory management should educate workers about the risks associated with exposure to diesel particulate matter and teach them the proper way to use the safety measures.
Also, there should be regular inspection of the control measures to ensure effectiveness. Failure to implement one or more of these control measures could lead to the risks associated with a high DPM level.