Workers need to be protected from the exhaust fumes produced by diesel vehicles and equipment. Their exposure is reduced or prevented through comprehensive risk assessments and appropriate control measures, which are required by law. A formal assessment includes measuring harmful substances, such as soot, and the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
A variety of control measures are used to avoid compromising workers' respiratory health. These include local exhaust ventilation, forced ventilation to channel fresh air into a workspace, air filtration in vehicle cabs, and the use of particulate and catalytic filters on engine exhausts.
Equipment needs to be properly maintained and correctly used to limit the amount of air pollution produced. Using low-sulphur fuel, turning engines off when not needed, and ensuring cold engines are warmed up in areas with good ventilation all help achieve this.
The effectiveness of the key control measures depends on regular checks, such as inspecting filters on exhaust systems each month. Local exhaust equipment should be checked every 14 months. After control measures are implemented, the levels of diesel exhaust fumes may need to be professionally monitored.
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It’s essential to have adequate ventilation in enclosed workspaces. Keep doors and windows open if practical, and include additional ventilation systems if required. Proper calculations will indicate whether this is needed - a specialist can assist.