Manufacturing - Occupational Health

Introduction Health in manufacturing

It is estimated that over 350 people die each year in Northern Ireland with their death attributable to work related causes of illness. The majority of deaths involve diseases of the lungs following exposure to substances such as asbestos, silica, diesel fume, dusts, gases and vapours. The resulting ill health manifests in conditions such as:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • mesothelioma
  • asbestosis
  • lung cancer

In particular, cases of occupational asthma are five times higher in the manufacturing sector than any other industry. Other vital organs are susceptible to exposure to mineral oils and chemicals. In addition, exposure to noise and vibration can cause disabling health conditions that can occur gradually over time.

As an employer, you must make sure your employees health is not impacted by their work. It is vital that employers assess the potential health risks in their workplace and put adequate control measures in place to protect their employees’ health.

Health and safety law requires health surveillance when your workers remain exposed to health risks even after you have put controls in place. This is because control measures may not always be reliable, despite appropriate checking, training and maintenance. Health risks which require health surveillance include noise, vibration and substances hazardous to health.

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To find more information on the potential health risks that exist in your workplace, please visit the relevant industry webpages below:


Health topics in the engineering industry:

Metalworking fluids:







Surface engineering:














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