Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)
High DPM concentrations can occur in confined areas or underground mines and may increase depending on the age of the equipment, the type of diesel engine, and engine maintenance. The only way to determine the level of exposure experienced by workers is to measure and monitor personal exposure.
One component of diesel exhaust is DPM which includes soot particles made primarily of carbon and other solid particles made of ash, metallic abrasion particles, sulfates and silicates. Diesel soot particles have a solid core consisting of elemental carbon. They are usually less than 1 micron in size, and they have other substances attached to the surface, including organic carbon compounds.
Nearly all DPM is respirable in size and therefore can be deposited deep in the lungs. Adverse health effects from exposure range from eye and respiratory irritation to lung cancer if exposure is in high concentrations over a prolonged period of time.
The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) has set guidelines for concentration where worker exposure to DPM levels should be controlled—measured as submicron elemental carbon. The value is determined as being a balance of factors such as: primarily minimising eye and respiratory irritation, then minimising any potential for risk of lung cancer to a level that is not detectable in the workforce, and finally on providing a level that is achievable as best practice by industry and government.
Risk Assessment & Analysis in areas with suspected high DPM concentrations.
HSE Australia offers a wide range of Occupational Hygiene and Risk Management Services in the area of Diesel Particulate Matter Monitoring and Hazardous Work Environments. Get in touch for an individual quote.
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