Key points

  • A detailed history is key when assessing a worker’s occupational exposure risk and establishing a diagnosis. The latency of occupational respiratory diseases can range from a few hours to 50 years.
  • National and international bodies set maximum allowable workplace concentrations for a wide range of substances. However, these limits are not usually set at a level designed to avoid sensitisation.
  • The effects of workplace respiratory exposures can be life-changing, ranging from acute inhalation injuries to lung cancer, and running the full spectrum of pleural, interstitial and inflammatory respiratory disease.

See the entire Occupational risk factors Chapter