HSE's Testing and Monitoring eBulletin

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Testing and Monitoring eBulletin 

Welding fume

Welding Fume: HSE’s Enforcement of
improved control standards

HSE has issued a recent Safety Alert; ‘Change in Enforcement Expectations for Mild Steel welding’.

“There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.”


This news has been widely disseminated, including an article by IOSH urging employers to ensure workers are protected from cancer-causing welding fumes as enforcement of raised control standards takes effect.


Related to this, Kate Jones (Biological Monitoring team) and HSE colleagues from the Inspectorate and Chemicals Regulation attended a recent meeting of the International Institute of Welding Health & Safety Committee, which was held at TWI Ltd


Kate gave an overview of the occupational survey currently underway looking at hexavalent chromium exposures in welding, electroplating and surface coating.  The study is part of a large European project, HBM4EU. We are still seeking volunteer workplaces so if you think you can help, please contact Kate directly.


John McAlinden (HSE Specialist Inspector) described the changes in HSE’s approach to welding activities, resulting from the IARC evaluation and HSE’s Safety Alert; more information on the standards that inspectors will expect can be found here.



Human Biomonitoring without limits?

Human Biomonitoring with or without limits?

The Biological Monitoring team have a long involvement with the series of conferences entitled “International Symposia on Biological Monitoring”. 


The last conference was in October 2017 and HSE’s laboratory had a significant presence with five presentations and involvement in four posters.


A paper covering the new developments presented at the conference is now available; 
Human Biomonitoring with or without limits? Progress in the analysis of biomarkers of xenobiotics and some opportunities for improved interpretation.


Please follow this link to read the full article produced by Paul T.J. Sheepers (Radboud Institute for Health Sciences) and John Cocker (Health & Safety Laboratory, now retired). It includes reference to our novel work on detecting respirable crystalline silica in breath condensate.



Health risks from flour dust

Bakery workers exposed to flour dust ‘for years’ results in HSE prosecution

HSE Inspector Geoff Fletcher commented: “Exposure to flour dust in an industrial setting can cause serious and debilitating health effects.

Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”


Read about HSE's prosecution case here.


HSL has had long experience in monitoring exposure to allergens in the bakery industry, with established methods for fungal alpha amylase and wheat flour antigen. 


We also provide an assay for the measurement of soya trypsin inhibitor, a major inhalation allergen found in soy products (flour and oil), extensively used in the food industry and soya bean pellets used in agricultural animal feedstuff.


To find out more information about the service we provide please follow this link.



HSE’s John Saunders presents in Birmingham:
‘Filtration efficiency of a water backed booth’

There are a number of booths on the market that are designed to extract and filter dust created during stone working, often using stone with a high silica content.


A selection of these rely on a water spray system to remove the stone dust before the 'cleaned' air is returned back to the workplace.


On the face of it, this type of booth is attractive to dutyholders as they do not need to duct the extracted air to the outside and there are no filters to buy and replace. Furthermore the manufacturers claim high filtration efficiencies. But in reality how good is the filtration?


This was the question that John Saunders, of HSL's Exposure Measurement and Control team, sought to address.


John's presentation described site tests carried out on a recirculating booth and presented results that showed a large proportion of the respirable dust passed through the filtration system and was returned to the workplace. The presentation also raised awareness of the limitation of this type of booth.



Train with our experts!

Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) - Health Surveillance and Exposure Control - Tues 5th March

LEV – practical Management of Local Exhaust Ventilation Controls – Weds 10th April


To see all of HSE's training courses coming up in March and April 2019, please click here.


Get latest news and updates from HSE across a range of industries and topics by subscribing to our eBulletins here.

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