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29. Prevention of hazards due to dust

  Pneumoconiosis caused by inhaling dust over an extended period of time has long been a typical occupational disease, and even modern medicine does not yet have an effective cure for the lesions.
  Therefore, to inhibit the generation of dust causing pneumoconiosis and to prevent workers from being exposed to dust, employers are obliged to do the following:
(The Ordinance on Prevention of Hazards Due to Dust)
  This ordinance is based on the Industrial Safety and Health Law, and it is required that the ordinance be applied together with the Pneumoconiosis Law. (The Pneumoconiosis Law stipulates health examinations, work management, etc.)
1. Classification of dusty work (Ordinance, Article 2)
a. Dusty work
There are 24 categories of dusty work. The major categories are as follows:
(a) Excavation, transport or fill up minerals, etc., or movement of dust-deposited machines, respectively carried out in a pit
(b) Cutting, grinding or crushing rocks, minerals, raw carbon materials, etc.
(c) Filling bags with cement, powdery ores, titanium oxide, etc.
(d) Mixing powdery ores, raw carbon materials, raw materials of glass and porcelain enamel, etc.
(e) Breaking sand molds
(f) Scraping off minerals, etc. in a hold
(g) Throwing minerals in the process of refining inorganic materials, etc.
(h) Scraping off ash, etc. deposited in a furnace, flue, etc.
(i) Constructing furnaces, etc. using refractory materials
(j) Welding and cutting metals in a ship, rolling stock, etc.
(k) Thermal spraying of metals
(l) Warehousing rushes with dyed soil
(m) Unloading ballast from hopper cars in a long tunnel
b. Specific dusty work
Among the dusty work, fifteen categories of power-using work and indoor work are designated as specific dusty work.
2. Measures to be taken in the workplace of dusty work
a. Measures to be taken against specified dust sources (Ordinance, Article 4)
(a) Keeping a wet state
(b) Enclosing measures
(c) Installing local exhaust equipment.
(d) Installing a push-pull type ventilation system
In the case where ten or more dust sources exist in a workplace, a dust collector should be installed. (Ordinance, Article 10)
b. Measures to be taken when it is difficult to take a measure such as the installation of local exhaust equipment (Ordinance, Article 9)
  In the case where it is difficult to take measures such as the installation of local exhaust equipment or a push-pull type ventilation system because of the structure, etc. of the workplace, respiratory protective equipment should be used, or a general ventilation system should be installed, subject to approval by the Chief of the competent Labour Standards Inspection Office concerned.
c. Measures to be taken for indoor (or pit) work other than specific dusty work (Ordinance, Articles 5 and 6)
  A general ventilation system, or similar system should be installed.
d. Measures to be taken for temporary dusty work (Ordinance, Article 7)
  In the case where temporary specific dusty work or temporary dusty work is carried out, employers should let the workers use respiratory protective equipment.
3. Dust collection method (Ordinance, Article 13)
  Any one of the following dust collection methods should be adopted:
  If the dust is a fume: filter type dust collection or electric type dust collection
  If the dust is other than a fume: cyclone type dust collection, scrubber type dust collection, filter type dust collection, or electric type dust collection
4. Periodic voluntary inspection (Ordinance, Article 17)
  The employer should voluntarily inspect local exhaust equipment, push-pull type ventilation systems, and dust collectors at least once a year, and records (including the state of repairs) should be preserved for three years.
5. Measurement of the working environment (Ordinance, Article 17)
  In an indoor specified workplace of dusty work, in which dust from sand and stone, rock, metal, or carbon is regularly emitted, the working environment should be measured once every six months, and records (including improvement measures) should be preserved for three years.

(The next article in this series covers the prevention of lead poisoning, etc.)