How to Prevent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) at Work

People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can
have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or both. The lung damage caused by COPD
impairs air flow in the lungs and causes breathing difficulty. Symptoms of COPD
include frequent coughing or wheezing and excess phlegm, mucus, or sputum
production. Shortness of breath can limit activities. Around 15% of all COPD
cases can be attributed to exposures in the workplace. Work-related COPD can
occur in both smokers and nonsmokers.

It is important to recognize the potential risks of occupational hazards and
take steps to prevent work-related COPD. These steps include the following:

- Identify possible hazards.

- Eliminate hazardous processes or materials or substitute less hazardous ones.

- Install engineering controls to reduce hazardous exposures.

- Implement administrative controls such as work practices or policies that
reduce or prevent
- Train workers on potential workplace hazards.

- Establish a no-smoking policy.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

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