Top Respiratory Hazards in a Plastic Factory

As far as job-related  dangers go, working in a plastics factory is about as risky as it gets. You work with harsh chemicals, dangerous machinery, and toxic fumes on any given day.

But what most people don’t know is that there’s more to worry about than meets the eye. There are respiratory hazards at every stage of plastics factory production, from work with hazardous substances to exposure to harmful dust particles and even mold growth from too much moisture in the air.

This blog will discuss these dangers in detail and offer a solution to protect all workers.

Harsh Chemicals Damage the Lungs and Throat

Some chemicals in plastics factories are outright hazardous and dangerous to the body. But even chemicals that aren’t necessarily toxic can be severely damaging to your respiratory system if you’re exposed for too long or from breathing toxic fumes in too often.

The dangers of exposure to these harsh chemicals and their fumes include:

  • A build-up of fluid on the lungs, which can then lead to a condition called pulmonary edema
  • Destruction of the cilia in the lungs, which are small hair-like structures that help you breathe by sweeping mucous and irritants out of your respiratory system.
  • Damage or even death of cells lining both your upper and lower respiratory systems from chemical exposure. This is not only painful, but it can also lead to respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Respiratory distress is another issue that workers may face when exposed to harsh chemicals for an extended period of time. This includes trouble breathing, coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm), chest pain, wheezing, and even fatigue.

Exposure to Dust Can Also Lead to Respiratory Problems

Even without harsh chemicals, working with plastics can be dangerous because of the dust particles you may encounter on a daily basis.

When it comes to dangers associated with exposure to respiratory irritants like dusts, there are two major types: acute risks (short-term exposure that leads to immediate dangers) and chronic risks (longer-term exposure leading to long-term respiratory issues).

Understanding the dangers of working in a plastics factory with these dust particles can help you better protect yourself from breathing them in or coming into contact with them.

Some possible acute dangers include:

  • Irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes
  • Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm)
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing.

Long-term dangers of working with plastic dust include:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema as mentioned above in the dangers associated with exposure to harsh chemicals
  • Asthma attacks triggered by exposure to dust.

Fume Extractors Reduce or Eliminate These Hazards

Thankfully, you don’t have to ask your employees to go through working in a plastics factory without their respiratory system being protected.

Some factories utilize fume extractors that work from the moment raw materials enter the building all the way up until they leave it as finished products. This includes capturing fumes released during production and preventing them from being inhaled by workers or escaping into the surrounding environment.

These extractors are installed in areas where dangers to respiratory health are high, which includes:

  • Open vats filled with plastics and chemicals that workers often stand directly next to while they’re being mixed or molded into final products
  • Areas of production that involve using harsh chemicals like solvents or degreasers
  • Areas of production that involve lots of dust, like injection molding or rotational molding.

Fume extractors are an investment for any plastics factory because they reduce dangers to respiratory health while simultaneously improving worker efficiency and reducing downtime due to medical issues related to poor air quality that affects employee engagement. This can help make your company more productive in the long run.

For more information or to get help finding the ideal fume extractor for your factor, speak with IP Systems USA.

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