Respiratory hazards in heavy construction


Numerous projects around the city and throughout the province pose respiratory hazards to workers. These can include various types of dusts, metals, chemical, biological agents, and many more.

The long-term effects of respiratory hazard exposure can lead to the development of asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer and other chronic lung and breathing issues. To protect workers, remember:

  • When possible, use water systems and/or ventilation to control dust exposure, particularly in confined spaces
  • Wear an appropriate respirator when working around respiratory hazards
  • Have workers fit tested and trained on use, care, and maintenance of their respirators
  • Thoroughly wash hands before eating or drinking in work areas
  • Shower and change into clean clothes as soon as possible after work

Parts 6.15 and 6.16 of the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Regulation covers the requirements for respiratory protective equipment, including employer responsibilities and the circumstances when a respirator is required. The WSH Regulation also names CSA Standard Z94.4-11 for respirator selection, use and care regulations. Use of respirators should also be in keeping with the safe work procedures in Part 2.1 of the WSH Regulation.

Controlling for respiratory hazards reaps benefits in the short term and the long term for workers in preventing illness. For resources regarding silica exposure and control, visit our website here or contact your regional safety advisor.