Exposure to Airborne Hazardous Substances
In many workplaces workers are at risk from contaminants that are in the air. These can be solid particulates (e.g. dust, respirable crystalline silica, and weld fume), vapours (like those released by organic solvents), gases (e.g. carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from combustion processes).
Many airborne hazardous substances have the potential to have an adverse effect on the health of people exposed to them and, in an occupational setting, employers must assess the risk these types of hazard to health pose employees and others.
Some substances are respiratory sensitisers meaning exposure can lead to occupational asthma. In the UK health and safety law requires that employers reduce worker exposure to asthmagens to as low a level as is reasonably practical.
What is required of employers in the assessment and management of exposure to hazardous substances is set out in a number of documents including:
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (as amended) often referred to as COSHH.
- The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002.
Some substances have workplace exposure limits (WELs) these being listed in EH40.
How We Can Help
By engaging Viridis to conduct an assessment of worker risk from airborne hazardous substances you are one step closer to complying with the requirements of COSHH.
Viridis will design a study that assesses the level of risk posed by the contaminants likely to be present in the air. The type of study that will be conducted will depend on the contaminants present, the number of workers potentially exposed and an approximate assessment of the level of health risk which is made during the initial consultation.
Most studies will involve some form of quantitative assessment of exposure using validated methods of sample collection and analysis.
A key aspect of all studies is detailed observation of working practices, existing controls in use and deployment of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) where this is used.
A Viridis findings report will include details of working practices and other observations likely to impact worker exposure, results of any sampling that has been conducted compared with relevant exposure limits and recommendations to reduce risk.