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VICTIMS OF DIESEL EXPOSURES

Shop Employees – Am I Being Exposed To Diesel Exhaust?

Published on April 26th, 2016 by Andrew L. Hughes

Shop employees in many industries, including railroad and trucking, are regularly exposed to harmful diesel exhaust and diesel particulate matter (soot).  Numerous hazardous chemicals are part of the gases and vapors found in diesel exhaust.  The diesel soot is dangerous because carcinogens, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, adhere to the surface of the soot which is inhaled and deposited inside your throat and lungs.

Here are some basic considerations when determining whether you’re being exposed to diesel exhaust inside a shop:

  • Is there visible smoke near exhaust points of vehicles or engines?  The darker the smoke, the dirtier the workplace.
  • Is there a visible haze inside your workplace?  It’s not uncommon to hear shop employees describing conditions where it was difficult to see clearly across the shop or where a haze loomed near the ceiling of the shop.
  • Are diesel-powered vehicles left idling in the shop?
  • At the end of a shift, do your clothes smell like diesel exhaust?
  • Are there multiple diesel-powered vehicles/engines running inside the shop at any given time?
  • Are there deposits of soot in your shop?  If you have windows, do cleaned windows become quickly obscured by diesel soot?  Basically, do items get dirty just from being inside the shop?
  • Are diesel engines allowed to run at full-speed inside the shop?
  • Are the diesel engines that do run inside the shop properly maintained?  Badly worn engines, poorly serviced engines, or engines running on less than ideal grades of fuel can turn out far more dangerous levels of diesel exhaust than new, well-maintained and properly fueled engines.
  • Is diesel exhaust piped out from the stacks or tail pipes of the vehicles?
  • Does the shop have an air treatment or filtration system in place?  Is that system functional/well-maintained?
  • Is diesel exhaust produced nearby and allowed to drift into the shop?  For instance, railroad car and diesel shops are often near tracks occupied by idling locomotives.  Given certain weather conditions, the exhaust from the idling locomotives can migrate directly into the shop.
  • Do you notice any illness trends in coworkers? For instance, when a small cluster of workers from the same shop are diagnosed with rare cancers, it’s time to take a hard look at the shop conditions.

These are just some of the considerations when determining whether there is a dangerous workplace exposure to diesel exhaust.  Learn more today by speaking with a diesel attorney at Diesel Injury Law. Give us a call at (312) 877-5588 today!

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