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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flethchers/EQR - health and safety issues associated with silt and dampness

Fletchers/EQR have issued an EQR Safety Alert for those working on repairs where there has been a build up of silt under the house.

Some extracts from the two page alert:
Bacteria, viruses and parasites
The main health risks from contaminated silt are gastro-intestinal illnesses, including E.Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Other potential health hazards include skin infections, leptospirosis and viral illnesses such as hepatitis.
Workers will be most at risk of coming into contact with bacteria through swallowing or from direct contact with skin (e.g. facial splashes). Broken skin is another avenue for bacterial infection.
Moulds and fungi
Moulds, fungi and some bacteria favour damp conditions, and can be found where water has leaked into houses from places where wet silt has been in contact with house structures such as wooden floors or piles.
Moulds and fungi produce tiny particles called spores. These can easily become airborne when mouldy material is disturbed or in dusty/windy environments. Some moulds also produce toxins that can be a danger to health. Moulds and fungi can cause a hacking cough, respiratory problems, nose or throat irritation, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, allergic reactions or skin  rashes/irritation, and can worsen pre-existing asthma.
A copy of the safety alert is here.
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