Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Last Updated: December 31, 2020

Definition - What does Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) mean?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of lung disease in which the lung receives poor airflow constantly due to obstructive reasons. In the context of occupational health and safety, risk of contracting COPD increases when employees are exposed to harsh conditions, which can include chemicals, dust, or fumes.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD) and chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD)

WorkplaceTesting explains Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

The main cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is smoking. However, on worksites, COPD has been reported to occur when workers have been exposed to various types of substances in different working environments.

Occupations which have greater possibilities of contracting COPD include:

  • Agriculture
  • Cadmium
  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Industrial workers
  • Petroleum workers
  • Quarries

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is generally irreversible and represents a decline in lung function. It includes two main diseases:

  • Chronic Bronchitis - inflammation that narrows the bronchi
  • Emphysema - permanent enlargement of the airspace in the lung
This definition was written in the context of Occupational Health and Safety
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