An airborne contaminant means a contaminant in the form of a fume, mist, gas, vapour or dust, and includes microorganisms. Airborne contaminants are potentially harmful substances that are either not naturally present in the air or are present in high concentrations. Workers may be exposed to these contaminants in their working environment during their normal workday activities.
Worksafe regulations requires health and safety risks to be eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risk, it must be minimised.
Classes of contaminants include metals, organics, synthetic and natural fibres and mineral dusts.
Where hazardous atmospheres exist or have the potential to exist, the workplace must manage risks to the health and safety of the workforce. Hazardous atmospheres may include those with insufficient oxygen, flammable gases, combustible dusts or toxic gases. These atmospheres can all pose an immediate threat to life.