Occupational Health And Safety Risks Associated With Sulphur Dioxide

Badenhorst, C. J.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
Oxides of sulphur are corrosive and are produced when sulphur-containing fuels are burned. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a colourless gas with a characteristic, irritating, pungent odour. Exposure routes to the human body are mainly through inhalation and skin and/or eye contact. Symptoms of exposure to SO2 may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; rhinorrhea (discharge of thin nasal mucous); choking; cough; and reflex bronchoconstriction. To protect employees against the ill health effects of SO2 exposure, they are often required to make use of respiratory protection whenever entering areas were the SO2 levels exceed the statutory limits. The use of respiratory protective equipment should always be a last resort and should be considered only after other control measures have failed to reduce occupational exposure levels to below the occupational exposure limit or whilst other control measures are being investigated or implemented. Whenever the use of respiratory protection equipment is considered, it should always be used as part of a comprehensive respiratory protection plan. It is also extremely important that all potentially exposed persons are adequately and comprehensively informed and trained.
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