It’s no secret that hog buildings can get dusty and breathing this dust is not good for you or your employees’ health, which makes it all the more important for you to work to keep dust levels down. There are steps you can take.

First, here are some respiratory diseases livestock producers and workers are at risk for, according to Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

  • Bronchitis: Symptoms include cough, phlegm, chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing.
  • Chronic Farmer-Lung Disease: This may occur with repeated dust exposures although it is possible to develop it after only one exposure. Symptoms include chronic coughing, increased and severe shortness of breath with slight exertion, body aches, weakness and occasional fever.
  • Occupational Asthma: Symptoms include chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing.
  • Organic-Dust Toxic Syndrome: About one-third of pork producers have had one or more episodes of ODTS. Symptoms include fever episodes, headaches, muscle aches, flu-like illness and shortness of breath.

You and your workers should have an annual exam to check respiratory condition and compare any changes in lung function from year to year.

There also are ways to protect from dust exposure, such as:

1. The most practical way is to wear an air-purifying respirator or dust mask while in buildings.

2. Provide adequate ventilation if you have to work in a dusty environment.

3. Keep the livestock building as clean as possible.

4. Do your chores inside the barn when the animals are likely to be resting.