Safer work environments = better breathing and healthier employees

On a normal day we breathe approximately 20,000 times and inhale around 10,000 liters of air. Where we work and live will determine the amount of air and air pollutants we are exposed to. The Respiratory Protection Standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, was created to help protect the health of workers/employees from all occupational airborne exposures.

Do you know what you and your employees are breathing?

  • Particles and aerosols:
    o Dust – coal, dirt, wood, animal dander, spores
    o Mists – cleaning products, bleaches, pesticides, paints
    o Fumes – nitrous oxide, chlorine, ammonia
    o Gases – carbon monoxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Car, truck and bus exhaust
  • Power generation plants
  • Burning of solid waste
  • Construction and building activities
  • Welding, smelting or furnace work
  • Biological hazards – bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasitic agents

What does a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) measure?

  • How much air you can take into your lungs. This amount is compared with that of other people your age, height and sex. This allows us to see whether you’re in the normal range.
  • How much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can do it
  • How well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood
  • The strength of your breathing muscles

Why do Pulmonary Function Testing?

  • Diagnose certain types of lung disease such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema
  • Find the cause of shortness of breath
  • Measure whether exposure to chemicals at work affects lung function
  • Check lung function before someone has surgery

How do I prepare for a PFT?

Before taking a PFT, be sure to inform us if you have recently had a viral infection, such as a cold or any shots or immunizations, since these might affect the test results. Other general preparations to follow before a PFT include the following:

  • Do not smoke on the day of the test
  • Do not have coffee, tea, cola or chocolate on the day of the test
  • Avoid exercise and cold air exposure on the day of the test