Keeping employees safe in areas of volcanic ash fall
7 August 2012
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has made health and safety information available for employers who may be operating in areas of ash fall following the eruption at Mt Tongariro overnight.
Short-term exposures to ash are not known to pose a significant health hazard, however ash-filled air can cause short-term abrasion, inflammation and irritation injuries to eyes and the respiratory system, and appropriate precautions should be taken to protect workers.
People working in areas of ash fall should take the following precautions:
- Make dust masks or respiratory equipment available for all employees
- Safety glasses should be worn
- Contact lenses should be removed and eyeglasses worn in their place
- Keep skin protected by overalls with elasticated cuffs
- Portable washing stations should be available for hands and eyes
- Robust footwear with good grip should be worn
- Avoid driving if possible
- Clean and protect air filters in machinery
More detailed information is available on the Ministry’s Labour Group website.