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    Respiratory Health

    Last updated on April 9th, 2024 at 05:56 pm

    Respiratory Health Resources

    Most of us take for granted that our lungs are going to do their job. We can get out of bed in the morning and take those first deep breaths without thinking. But it really is a gift. Protecting your lungs from farm work-related exposures is essential to your long-term health and your ability to keep doing the work you love.

    Once you recognize the hazards, your next step is to either modify the job to remove the hazards or to wear the correct personal protective equipment. Identify locations where you might breathe in grain dust or be exposed to aerosol in a confined space. Aerosol is the term for solid particles or liquid droplets in the air; aerosol might look invisible or like a gas, mist, or fog.

    Since many farm jobs require contact with respiratory hazards, personal protective equipment is the remaining option.

    When choosing respiratory protection, there are two main points to remember:

    1. Make sure the respirator or face mask is NIOSH approved.
    2. Make sure respiratory protection matches the hazard/ is correct for the job.

    For more guidance on selecting the right equipment, check out the following:

    AgriSafe Decision Guide Chart

    Text Equivalent of the AgriSafe Decision Guide Chart

    AgriSafe Rainbow Guide

    Text Equivalent of AgriSafe Rainbow Guide

    Respiratory Health Resources

    Resource Library

    7236Agricultural Respirator Selection Guide

    A guide on selecting the right respirator for the right job.
    Spanish Title: Guía Para La Selección De Respirador Agrícola

    9879Agricultural Respiratory Selection Booklet

    This guide is designed to assist trained Agricultural Health Professionals to recommend appropriate respirators based on the clients’ agricultural exposure. (This guide is not intended for the professional who has not received training in respirator selection.)

    7235Avian Influenza: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidelines

    The information provided in this guide is intended as general guidelines for exposures to Avian Influenza.

    10344Can the Bandana….Use an N95!

    Check out AgriSafe Community Health Nurse Linda Emanuel and her presentation “Can the Bandana….Use an N95”.

    8705Diferencia Entre La Prueba De Ajuste Y La Comprobación Del Sello Del Usuario

    The purpose of this Spanish language guide is to help individuals better understand the difference between a Fit Test and a User Seal Check.
    English Title: Knowing the Difference: Fit Test vs User Seal Check

    9867Gas Monitors for Agriculture

    Guidelines to identify hazards and select sensor types based on potential hazards in your farming operation.

    11425Guía Para La Selección De Respirador Agrícola

    A guide on selecting the right respirator for the right job.
    English Title: Agricultural Respirator Selection Guide

    9865How to Comply with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Owners and Employers Need to Know

    EPA in conjunction with the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) is making available a guide to help users of agricultural pesticides comply with the requirements of the 2015 revised federal Worker Protection Standard. You should read this manual if you employ agricultural workers or handlers, are involved in the production of agricultural plants as an owner/manager of an agricultural establishment or a commercial (for-hire) pesticide handling establishment, or work as a crop advisor.

    7989Knowing the Difference: Fit Test vs User Seal Check

    The purpose of this guide is to help individuals better understand the difference between a Fit Test and a User Seal Check.
    Spanish Title: Diferencia Entre La Prueba De Ajuste Y La Comprobación Del Sello Del Usuario

    9881Manure Storage Pit Dangers

    Guidance on manure pit operations from ASABE specify the need to monitor these spaces prior to entry. This alert provides general guidance on why and how to monitor.

    8000Personal Protective Equipment: OSHA Guidance

    This OSHA publication provides a general overview of personal protective equipment requirements and selection.

    10352Respiratory Health

    episode of Talking Total Farmer Health

    7995What to Know About Bird Flu

    A guide on what to look for during an avian influenza outbreak.

    9866Worker Protection Standards for Agricultural Establishments

    This document describes the federal Worker Protection Standards for agricultural establishments.


    Webinar TitleSummaryLink
    Anhydrous Ammonia Safety for Farmworkers (February 24, 2022)

    Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) is an effective nitrogen crop fertilizer used throughout the Midwest and beyond.  Anhydrous ammonia is potentially dangerous, as it seeks water from the nearest source, which may be the human body – especially the eyes, lungs, and skin because of their high moisture content.  Few problems occur when anhydrous ammonia is handled properly and applied as intended.  However, it is important for all individuals working with this type of fertilizer to understand the potential health risks, necessary safety precautions, and proper response in the event of an exposure. Focus of the training is on anhydrous ammonia safety during transport and application, including the anatomy of the nurse tank and toolbar, safety inspection processes, hitching and unhitching safety, personal protective equipment (PPE), rural roadway safety, and first aid/emergency procedures.  Hazard communication and emergency action plans will also be addressed.

    Confined Space – Grain Bin Entry

    The Confined Space Grain Safety program is intended for workers and managers in agriculture. This includes Coop’s, farm operators, employees, and agriculture business owners. The major focus of the program is on safety in confined space work areas.

    Respiratory Protection Issues in Agriculture – What to Wear & Does It Fit?

    The business of agriculture presents a myriad of hazards, including exposures to dusts, molds, pesticides and other chemicals, gases, as well as welding fumes and particles. Deciding what protection to use to prevent acute and chronic respiratory diseases is confusing. In addition, just finding the right protective gear can be a challenge. This webinar will address those issues and provide information on the importance of fit testing and fit (seal) checks.

    Respiratory Protection Program Adapted to Grain Handling Operations

    The OSHA respiratory standard requires a written respiratory protection program for situations in which permissible exposure levels (PELs) of airborne contaminants could be exceeded or when the employer requires use of respirators by workers. This training will assist agriculture-based employers who require respirator use to comply with the OSHA respiratory protection program standard. Training includes written worksite specific procedures, program evaluation, selection of an appropriate respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), training, fit testing, inspection, cleaning, maintenance, and storage, medical evaluation, work area surveillance and air quality standards.

    Page updated: July 2021

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