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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

9 Ways To Prevent Work-Related Asthma

Work-related asthma can be stopped dead in its tracks if employers and employees work together. Hear nine ways to prevent this occupational lung disease.

Work-related asthma causes difficult breathing. It can happen in any work environment, indoors out out.

In this podcast, Dan Clark explains how company owners and workers should be proactive in preventing this incurable disease. Hear about substances that trigger work-related asthma, and ways to avoid them.



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Dan Clark: Lots of people have asthma. It’s made worse by the stuff they breathe at work. That’s called work-related asthma, and a big slice of the population has it. Listen for nine ways to prevent it.

Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, compliments of Creative Safety Supply.

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What is asthma? It’s a long-term lung disease. Airways get inflamed and then narrow down causing spasms making it hard to breathe. It’s usually caused by an allergic reaction to something.

• Work-related asthma can happen to anyone in any work environment.

• People with a family history of allergies and asthma are at a greater risk, as are those who smoke or are around secondhand smoke.

• Both indoor and outdoor workers can be impacted.


The American Lung Association says:

Indoor triggers are mold, dust, secondhand smoke, cleaning chemicals, gases, fumes and vapors.

Outdoor triggers are vehicle exhaust and other air pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides.

Triggers also vary by industry. People who work in offices may have reactions caused by cleaning chemicals. People who work in a bakery can develop asthma from certain types of flour.

So let’s get to it. 9 Ways To Prevent Work-Related Asthma, and employers and employees each have responsibilities.


1. Reduce worker exposure to allergens and irritants by eliminating them, such as servicing the HVAC systems. Substitution also can help. Use different chemicals or work processes. PPE, the personal protective equipment, can reduce work-related asthma but not completely stop it.

Spirometry lung function test. Image by NIOSH.

2. Identify affected workers early. Lung function tests called spirometry and skin tests can help diagnose.

3. Train workers on potential workplace hazards including precautions to take and ways to report the hazards.

4. Stop all smoking in the workplace. Offer benefits and quit smoking programs to get employees to put the butt out.

Continuing now with EMPLOYEES.

5. Avoid exposure to known allergens or irritants. Use PPE.


6. Get help from a doctor or allergist if breathing problems pop up. Do it before they become permanent. Workers are often mistakenly diagnosed with bronchitis, so ask questions.

7. Let the boss know immediately if you have lung issues. Report ventilation and other protective equipment failures.

8. If diagnosed with asthma, take care of yourself. See your doctor, take the meds as prescribed, and stay away from the irritants that make your work-related asthma worse.


9. Get away from tobacco smoke. If you’re a smoker, join a program to quit.

That’s all for this episode, 9 Ways To Prevent Work-Related Asthma. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at with coupon code BIG10.



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