On the farm

This information is for farmers and forestry workers, e.g. lumberjacks or tree surgeons. It gives information on things in the workplace that could damage the lungs and advice on how to protect them.

What are the hazards?

These are some of the hazards you may come into contact with at work.

  • Dusts from grains

    Dusts made when working with grains like barley, wheat, oats, maize and rye.

  • Dusts from animals and birds

    When handling animals or cleaning the area where they are kept, you might breathe in dust from the animals’ fur, feathers, dead skin, urine, droppings or saliva. This is most common among people working with poultry (birds).

  • Moulds on hay, straw and grain

    Crops harvested in wet weather can often go mouldy before crumbling to a fine dust when they dry out.

  • Dust from wood

    Created when working on softwood and hardwood.

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung conditions like COPD and lung cancer

If you smoke, you will be at a much higher risk of developing a lung condition.


How can your health be affected?

How to protect yourself

Your employer has a responsibility to ensure the work environment is appropriately ventilated and that you are provided with protective clothing and appropriate safety advice.

Here are six easy things you can do to ensure you're doing everything you can to protect your lung health at work.

  • Assess Risk

    Do risk assessments to make sure you are doing jobs safely and efficiently.

  • Work carefully

    Try not to make too much dust.

  • Ventilation

    Make sure that your work area is appropriately ventilated so that cleaner air can come into the room.

    Make sure you have a dust extractor and that it is switched on and working.

  • Keep it clean

    • Use an industrial vacuum to clear dust from the floors, walls and rafters
    • If using a brush wet the dust before sweeping it up
    • Avoid getting dust on your own clothes and hair – wear overalls and headgear
    • If wearing your own clothes, wash them regularly and leave them at work – do not wear them at home
  • Wear the correct mask

    A mask can stop you developing a work-related lung condition caused by inhaling hazardous substances.

    Different masks are available in a range of sizes and designs, so if you are having trouble using a mask supplied by your employer you should discuss the options for using a different kind of mask.

  • Health check-ups

    Get your health regularly checked – either through a health scheme at your workplace, or by regularly seeing a healthcare professional.

More information