Diesel exhaust comes from engines burning diesel fuel. It is a complex mixture of gases, vapours, liquid aerosols and particulate substances. These substances are the products of combustion. The main chemical components of diesel exhaust emissions are:
- Gases and vapours – these are mostly the gases found in air like nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide. There are also hazardous chemicals like nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide.
- Fine particles known as diesel particulate matter (DPM) including fine carbon particles – hazardous chemicals known as poly aromatic hydrocarbons adhere to the surface of carbon particles.
DPM can act like a gas and stay airborne for long periods of time. DPM can penetrate deep into the lungs because of its small size.
Safe Work Australia currently has no exposure standards for the components of diesel exhaust on its Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS). Both the Australian mining industry and the AIOH support the use of an exposure standard of 0.10mg/m3, measured as submicron elemental carbon EC.
Diesel Fume Assessments
Our diesel fume assessments assist employers to comply with the general provisions of the Workplace Health and Safety Act, which can be obtained using known published technical standards.
- Code of Practice for Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Safe Work
- National Exposure Standard for Atmospheric Contaminants in the Occupational Environment
- Guidance on the Interpretation of Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants.
- Safe Work Australia 2013
- Diesel Particulate Matter & Occupational Health Issues Position Paper AIOH 2013