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Definition - What does Particulate mean?

Particulate, within the context of workplace safety, relates to solid particles and/or liquid droplets released as composite emissions into the atmosphere from a host of various environmental factors. Some of these sources including industrial processes and operations associated to manufacturing factories (plants), automotive transportation, and even the natural element of fire. Particulate matter, or PM, consists of toxic compounds that pose significant health risks to people at the workplace due to overexposure from constant inhalation, absent of protective masks, over a protracted period of time.

SureHire explains Particulate

Particulate can cause significant health risks in the workplace. The inhalation of particulate matter, or PM, can induce major health problems, initially causing minor physiological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, coughing fits, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Furthermore, frequent inhalation can introduce long-standing detriment to an individual’s health compromising cardiopulmonary function, reducing immunity response to combat development of bacterial infections like pneumonia or, perhaps, terminal conditions including lung cancer, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Additionally, specific occupational trades, such as mining, construction, railroading, automotive repair and maintenance, and oil and natural gas enterprise, predispose workers to contracting these health conditions. However, employers are required to abide to Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) measures designed to eliminate or reduce exposure to airborne PM pathogens in the workplace.

In an effort to control particulate matter, employers often apply air quality ventilation systems by either installing units into heavy equipment, a designated area, and/or into an entire facility altogether. Mask mask fit testing is also important in work environments where particulate matter can not be avoided without protective equipment such as a respirator air-purifier employing an attached canister or cartridge that filters pollutants from atmospheric environs or by using an air-supply respirator with attached hoses feeding breathable air from an adjacent respiration supply device.

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