Exposure to hazardous substances
In order to comply with the Health and Safety Legislation, our next client contacted us and asked us to carry out an assessment of occupational exposure to hazardous substances. The site we attended was a factory, situated in Stockport, which specialises in grain milling and grain sorting machinery. The building is separated into three sections – offices and welfare facilities in the front of the building; testing facilities in the centre of the building and a main production area in the rear of the building. The production area is then subdivided into a sieve recovery section, sieve clearing section, grinding section, roll fluting section, turning section and an automated blasting section. The working day is 8 hours and 30 minutes long therefore this is what we consider the total exposure time to be too.
Are employees exposed to hazardous substances?
We monitored the air in the Colour sorting area as employees were likely to be exposed to levels of respirable and inhalable dust above the workplace exposure limits (WELs) during setting and testing machinery. However air monitoring revealed that this was not the case as the daily personal exposure to respirable and inhalable dust was below the workplace exposure limits.
We also monitored the air in the Sieve recovery area as employees use synthetic glues which contain Ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate. Any dust and fumes produced in this area are controlled by bench fitted LEV systems. Air monitoring revealed that employees working in the sieve recovery area are unlikely to be exposed to levels of Ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate above the workplace exposure limits (WELs).
Air monitoring suggested that the employees working in the sieve cleaning area are likely to be exposed to significant levels of inhalable dust close to or above the workplace exposure limits therefore remediation measures are necessary in order to minimise this.
Air monitoring revealed that employees working in the roll fluting and turning areas are unlikely to be exposed to levels of respirable and inhalable dust above the workplace exposure limits, therefore no remediation measures are necessary. This was also the case for employees working in the grinding area as they are not likely to be exposed to levels of metal working fluid aerosol above the workplace exposure limits.
Recommendations to minimise exposure to hazardous substances
Due to the results of air monitoring we recommended our client to enforce the use of respiratory protective equipment of at least FFP2 standard when cleaning the sieves in the sieve cleaning area and the use of compressed air for cleaning the sieves should be discouraged. We also recommend that employees should be provided with adequate training on the health risks from hazardous substance in the workplace, control measures, their use and maintenance. Refresher training should be provided at least once a year or when circumstances change.