Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Controlling Hazardous Dust In Manufacturing and Processing Plants

Pennsylvania workers' compensation

Scranton, PA workers’ compensation attorneys explain what you need to know

Despite the best efforts of many companies, hazardous dust can sometimes be found in the workplace, especially in manufacturing and processing plants. That’s why it’s important for workers in these facilities to be aware of the hazards they may face and what to do if they become sick due to exposure to this hazardous material.

The Scranton workers’ compensation attorneys at O’Malley & Langan Law Offices understand the concerns and risks facing workers in manufacturing and processing plants. That’s because we have decades of experience representing injured workers and their families. Below, you will find information about hazardous dust in the workplace, how these materials can impact workers and what work-related illnesses these hazardous substances can cause.

What are common hazardous dusts in the workplace?

Occupational Health and Safety Magazine recently released a podcast about “Controlling Hazardous Dusts in Manufacturing & Processing Facilities.” In the podcast, the host discussed common hazardous dusts in the workplace with Jon Ladwig, who is the Systems Market Manager for Camfil APC. Hazardous dusts include:

  • Combustible dust
  • Asbestos particles and other hazardous mineral fibers
  • Metal shavings or metallic dusts, which may contain lead or cadmium
  • Mineral dusts, which often contain silica, which can be dangerous if inhaled
  • Chemical dusts, which may contain pesticides or other hazardous chemicals

Other hazardous dusts may be present in the air in the workplace, especially if there is not proper ventilation or other precautions are not taken to protect workers.

What types of occupations are often exposed to hazardous dusts?

Many different occupations can be exposed to hazardous dust in the workplace, particularly in manufacturing facilities or processing plants, such as:

  • Metal working occupations, including:
    • Welding
    • Laser cutting
    • Arc gouging
  • Food manufacturing-related occupations.
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing-related occupations.
  • Coal mining or mineral extraction-related occupations.
  • Oil and gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing-related occupations.

In addition, construction workers often encounter hazardous dusts and dangerous chemicals as part of their work. In particular, anyone who comes into contact with asbestos through their work could be at risk. These occupations include electricians, plumbers, roofers and other construction workers.

What are common illnesses caused by hazardous dust?

There are many different long-term workplace illnesses often caused by exposure to hazardous dust and other dangerous materials, including:

  • Mesothelioma, a form of cancer often caused by exposure to asbestos
  • Silicosis, a type of lung cancer often caused by exposure to silica and other minerals
  • Other lung-related diseases, especially due to exposure to mineral dust
  • Coal miners’ pneumoconiosis, which is caused by inhaling coal dust

If you or a loved one is sick or injured due to exposure to hazardous materials in the workplace, contact O’Malley & Langan Law Offices and schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Scranton workers’ compensation attorney at our firm. We have offices in Scranton, Pittston and Towanda and handle cases throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.

Office Locations



201 Franklin Avenue

Scranton, PA 18503

p. 570-344-2667



9 North Main Street

Pittston, PA 18640

p. 570-883-1321



213 Main Street

Towanda, PA 18848

p. 570-265-5800