Preventing Pneumoconiosis

Can Pneumoconiosis be Prevented?

The only way to prevent pneumoconiosis is by not inhaling coal dust.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (part of the U.S. Department of Labor) sets standards for workers. Those standards include protective requirements for anyone who works around coal, graphite, or man-made carbon. Workers should wear a mask to help prevent pneumoconiosis and follow other personal safety procedures. And companies are required by law to enforce maximum dust levels that surround workers.

If you are exposed to coal dust follow these procedures to help protect yourself:  

  • If coal dust contacts the skin, workers should wash the affected areas with soap and water.
  • If your clothing is contaminated with coal dust, remove it immediately. Your employer should have a place and a system for the safe removal of the dust from your clothing. People who launder the clothes should also know about the dangers of coal dust so that they can protect themselves.
  • If you handle coal dust, thoroughly wash your hands, forearms, and face with soap and water before eating, using toilet facilities, applying cosmetics, taking medication, using tobacco products, etc.
  • Do not eat, drink, use tobacco products, apply cosmetics, or take medication in areas where coal dust is handled, processed, or stored.  

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