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Control measure

Be aware of the respiration of particles and dermal irritation

Control measure knowledge

Material deformation due to collision and the cutting of vehicle materials to remove structural elements produces a range of material particulate sizes. Inhaling these particles to the upper and lower respiratory tract poses a significant risk to emergency responders and casualties, both during the extrication phase and during the recovery phase of an incident where clearing up may be undertaken.

Airborne continuous filament particles and their associated health hazards depend on respirability; the potential to enter the lower regions of the lung, where lung disease can be caused.

Where dust or fibres are produced during collision or through the extrication process, itching can also occur when there is direct contact with soft tissues such as the skin and eyes. Such irritation is more prevalent when soft tissue is exposed to resin coated fibrous material, especially GFRP and CFRP

Dust can be found on equipment or PPE and can also be transferred to other personnel and their equipment.

  • Consider damping down any dust on scene or any dust created during the cutting process
  • Consider introducing barrier membranes like plastic covers between casualties and any materials being cut
  • Consider alternative extrication strategies to reduce the requirement to cut
  • Consider alternative tool strategies to reduce any dust produced
  • Provide respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to rescuers and casualties when dust is likely, and ensure RPE is disposed of correctly after use
  • Consider washing equipment and PPE and ensure that affected PPE is replaced or cleaned

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure that crews are supplied with PPE and RPE that protect against the dermal irritation and respiration of particulates likely to be encountered in rescue operations
  • Ensure PPE and RPE is compatible with simultaneously worn protection for other incident types

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Minimise the risk to crews from dust and particles released during rescue operations
  • Ensure that PPE and RPE is worn in accordance with service risk assessment at rescue incidents