Hazardous dust

Hazardous dust can increase the risk of developing allergies and respiratory disease.

Norsk versjon - Støv

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with HSE

Working environments with dust

Hazardous dust can occur in working environments that have:

  • Metal powder
  • Paper dust
  • Smoke
  • Dust from animals, fodder, bedding and litter
  • Dust from stones or sand
  • Wood dust, particularly from hardwoods like oak, beech, mahogany and teak
  • Dry mortar and concrete

Contact Occupational Health Services if you wish to evaluate the dust conditions in your workplace.


Exposure to hazardous dust should first and foremost be prevented by technical measures like fume hoods. If the risk assessment concludes that safety measures and use of personal protective equipment are necessary, such equipment must be available and in accordance with regulations. Make sure that you have adequate training and the necessary information to perform your work in a good and safe way.

Be aware that certain types of dust can be inflammable, explosive or particularly hazardous to the health. For example, wood dust is labelled as carcinogenic by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority. Dust from certain types of rock can also be radioactive and/or carcinogenic.

If you are exposed to hazardous dust you will, based on the risk assessment, be offered a medical examination. Occupational Health Services can provide assistance with this assessment.

Allergies and respiratory disease

If you inhale hazardous dust, you might develop allergies or respiratory disease. Allergies and diseases are developed over time and to different extents in different people. If you are already allergic, you are very likely to develop more allergies.

Consequently, you should make sure to work in ways that create as little spreading of dust as possible. Use a face shield if you cannot avoid hazardous dust in the air.

Questions regarding the HSE process

  • What is the unit doing to reduce exposure to dust for both people and the work area?
  • Can the unit's dust induce allergies or toxicity?
  • How does the unit ensure satisfactory storage and disposal of dust?
  • How are discharges of possibly hazardous dust prevented?
  • Which procedures does the unit have to ensure that a medical examination is offered in case of suspected adverse health effects?


NTNU regulations




Approved by Director of HSE - August 25th 2015 - HMSR58E - ePhorte 2016/3901