Airborne health risk management. (Worksafe release 13.02.19)

Good health risk management means:

  • Applying the hierarchy of control and provide the highest level of protection.

  • Being aware of the limitations of PPE, and not going straight to PPE as a control. It’s at the bottom of the hierarchy because of its limitations.

  • Designing control systems based on good risk assessment data.

  • Assessing and maintaining control systems to ensure they are working effectively.

  • Ensuring PPE when used fits correctly, is the right type for the exposure and provides a suitable level of protection compared to the level of exposure.

  • Providing training, information and supervision to workers to ensure controls are used effectively.

Poor health risk management means:

  • Going straight to PPE as the form of control without considering the need for higher levels of protection.

  • Assuming every worker can and should use respiratory protection – those with cardiovascular or respiratory disease, for example, should have a medical assessment before being cleared to use respiratory protection.

  • Not considering the limitations of PPE or the additional risks they can introduce (eg. respiratory protection + physical work + hot work conditions = heat stress risk).

  • Designing and installing control systems (eg extraction ventilation, or isolation) without understanding good design for control of airborne substances, nor

understanding how that substance behaves in air in that workplace or for that job or activity.

  • Assuming the control systems are working and effective without any verification, testing, or maintenance of those controls.