Occupational Hygiene Surveys
Many people today are exposed to a variety of substances at work for example chemicals, fumes, dusts, fibres which can under certain circumstances, have a harmful effect on their health. Many work activities involve hazardous substances being handled, produced or processed in ways that result in dust, fumes or gases being given off to the workplace atmosphere. Current legislation requires that exposure to hazardous substances is either prevented or adequately controlled.
These ‘hazardous substances’ can cause harm by too much being taken into the body through breathing, by being absorbed through the skin or swallowed, or by acting directly on the body at the point of contract. Some illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace may not appear until a long time after the first exposure. It is therefore important to know in advance how to protect the health of those people working with hazardous substances and those who may be affected by the work being carried out. The Health and Safety Executive have set occupational exposure limits for a large number of hazardous substances at work and publishes them in EH40 updated every year.
There are two types of exposure limits set by the Health and Safety Executive, maximum exposure limits (MELs) and occupational exposure standards (OESs). Both limits are concentrations of hazardous substances in the air averaged over a specific period of time – time weighted average (TWA). There are two time limits used long term (8hours) and short term (15 minutes). Even if a substance has neither an OES nor a MEL, this does not mean it is safe – it should be controlled at a level that allows exposure in the workplace day after day without any harmful effects on health.
Healthy Buildings International (HBI) are able to offer a complete range of personal and static airborne monitoring and testing services for airborne substances hazardous to health, to assist the company in compliance with its obligations under the COSHH Regulations 1999.
Wherever possible, monitoring is undertaken by industry-accepted methods and techniques in accordance with guidelines from bodies such as; e.g. BSI, HSE, NIOSH, US EPA etc. Sampling programmes are designed to individual client requirements and analysis being conducted at UKAMAS approved laboratories wherever possible. Traditional ‘wet’ methods of sampling are often used in conjunction with direct read-out instrumental techniques for added flexibility.
The following is a list of substances that HBI are able to monitor (this list is by no means exhaustive, any substance contained within the NIOSH or OSHA listing of methodologies can be sampled).
• Total Inhalable dusts, Respirable dusts – MDHS Method 14/2
• Solvents / Organic species – MDHS Method 70
• Heavy metals (Lead, Chromium etc.) – MDHS 14/2 and ICP
• Isocyanates – MDHS 25 and HPLC analysis
• Formaldehyde – MDHS methods
• TGIC – MDHS methods
• Hydrogen Chloride, Hydrogen Fluoride – MDHS methods
• Amines, Amides – MDHS methods
• Ammonia – MDHS methods
• Resin Acids – MDHS 83
• Welding and soldering fumes – MDHS methods
• Caustic vapours – MDHS methods
• Oil Mists – MDHS methods
• Rubber Fume – MDHS methods and Soxhlet extraction
• Ozone – MDHS methods
• Silica – MDHS methods and XRF
• Any EH40 substance listed.