The Health and Safety at Work summary statistics for Great Britain 2018 have been published by the HSE. Occupational lung disease is accounting for 12,000 deaths each year that are linked to past exposure at work. A recent Labour Force Study estimates that there are an average of 20,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year.
According to the report, work-related ill health is estimated to cost British business around £9.7 billion each year. However, industries such as manufacturing have found work-related ill health to have been significantly lower over the past few years.
Although the statistics at first glance seem high, compared to other EU countries the UK has one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries, work related injuries and work-related health problems with countries such as Spain, Germany and France showing a much higher percentage.
As a business you have a legal obligation to adhere to COSHH guidelines on a workers safe level of exposure to substances hazardous to health. Called the Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) these vary depending on the particular contaminant the worker is potentially exposed to.
WEL’s are British occupational exposure limits and are set in order to help protect the health of workers. WEL’s are the maximum levels of concentrations of hazardous substances in the air that the worker may be exposed to, averaged over a specified period of time, referred to as a time-weighted average (TWA). Published in EH40 -workplace exposure limits, a document available free of charge from the HSE website.
An effective LEV system and correct PPE should be keeping your workplace dust and fume free and your staff well protected but it’s often necessary to undertake ‘Air Sampling’ in the working environment and near a worker’s breathing zone to ensure the air they are breathing is indeed below the WEL .
Personal Air Sampling
Dustcheck are an industry leading manufacturer of Dust Control equipment and LEV systems. Our Servicing and Aftermarket division also offer LEV testing and personal and static gravimetric air sampling. This is an accurate method to measure the concentration of airborne contaminants within your workplace. Static tests are conducted in and around the work area whereas Personal Air Sampling happens close to your worker’s airway; a method of testing for airborne substances that may be inhaled when a worker undertakes a particular task.
Coupled with a thorough examination and test of your LEV equipment, samples are collected using specialist equipment and tested in laboratories to enable us to offer you a comprehensive ‘Occupational Exposure to Substances’ report on the quality of your workplace air. We will outline dangers your workforce may be exposed to and make recommendations on how you can improve your working environment.
Benefits of an effective LEV System
An effective LEV system will not only protect your operators from harmful dust but will also:
- Prevent explosions (where volatile dusts are present) when ATEX rated systems are installed
- Reduce housekeeping and minimise breakdowns by preventing dust from clogging machinery and making the working environment easier and safer to clean
- Improve product quality by preventing cross contamination
- Protect the environment by meeting EPA regulations and managing the quality of air being returned to atmosphere
Safe Change Facility
Other ways of reducing exposure of the workforce to hazardous materials is to use HEPA filters to reduce emissions of the cleaned air to very low levels and to provide the facility to change filter media without coming into contact with the particular dust.
We offer a wide range of filter cartridge and bag materials so are able to handle any product whether it is sticky, cohesive or extremely fine. This includes HEPA rated medias to H14 class and also solutions to provide resistance against hydrolysis, temperature, moisture, PH levels, etc.
Some of our dust extraction equipment can also be manufactured with the safe change facility for changing filter cartridges. Using a disposable collection bag, this places a barrier between the worker and the contaminated cartridge so your work force does not come into contact with any particularly dangerous dusts when servicing the machine.
*Statistics taken from Health and Safety at Work summary statistics for Great Britain 2018