Potential health risks include irritation to the eyes and throat, coughing and breathlessness, particularly if there is exposure to visible white, blue or black smoke. There is also limited evidence, the HSE says, of a small increase in the risk of lung cancer in people who have been exposed to diesel engine exhaust emissions at work for periods of more than 20 years.
A spokesman said: 'If you are running an engine where there is no free air then you are at risk. This is not just for people who work in this environment for eight hours a day, but if you're making regular visits throughout a day there can still be a health risk.'
In the light of growing concern, the HSE has issued a detailed document entitled 'Control of diesel engine exhaust emissions in the workplace' and a leaflet 'Diesel engine exhaust emissions' offering help to employers and the self-employed on how to control exposure, both of vehicular emissions and those from diesel-powered plant.