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Respiratory hazards in the workplace

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Worker's Compensation

One of the most insidious dangers in the workplace is a respiratory hazard. These can lead to significant long-term health problems for New Jersey workers. There are several diverse kinds of respiratory hazards, and they can all exist in a workplace, and they each require their own type of mitigation.

Low-oxygen hazards

There are three broad types of respiratory hazard. The first is an oxygen-deficient environment. Low oxygen deprives your brain of the fuel it needs, affecting your judgment, decision-making, and senses before eventual death. Oxygen-supplied breathing gear can protect against this risk.

Vapor hazards

Next is the risk of poisonous gases and vapors. They can be difficult to detect, but cause organ damage and other problems. Gases need special masks or respirators that purify the air.


The last major category is dust and particulate matter. Particulates can have a mix of short and long-term health impacts. Masks that have powerful filtration can protect against them to an extent, but exposure always carries some risk.

Personal protective equipment

The risks of these respiratory hazards can affect the whole body. While masks and other gear can help mitigate the problem, a poorly designed or operated workplace can expose workers to unnecessary danger. That includes the ability to detect and identify these hazards and ensure that the workers spend the minimum amount of time exposed to them. Respiratory hazards can be present in both enclosed and open spaces.

A workplace that has respiratory hazards needs to be prepared to protect its workers against the health risks of breathing in something that is harmful to them, no matter what the source is.