Occupational & Environmental Hygiene Essay Example

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    Masters
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SCD Air Sampling Method

Introduction

This occupational and environmental hygiene report presents air monitoring for dust/particulate matter exposures using sample collection devices carried out at Clem and Horse Arena- west side. The dust/ particulate matter sampling included the collection of entire mass of sample from the two locations on separate filters.

The Sample Collection Device (SCD) air monitoring for particulate matter was undertaken on Tuesday, August 3, 2011 at Clem starting at 9:02 am and finishing at 2:10 pm. For Horse Arena — west side, the monitoring started at 9:15 am and finished at 2:13 pm on the same day.

In response to the suspected hazards in the area of interest, the air monitoring aimed at providing the crucial information about the exposure levels of inhalable particulate matter and the extent at which they are harmful to those exposed in the conditions.

Potential Health Impacts

The Brisbane tunnel builders are exposed to a range of health hazards which include microscopic particles from vehicle exhausts such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (NO) and visibility. This report focuses on air pollution caused by the ultrafine particles from the vehicle exhausts in Sydney’s M5 tunnel. The air monitoring and assessment done at this area was to evaluate the exposure levels of the inhalable particulate matter. Since air filtration technology is not well advanced in Australia, high concentrations of the ultrafine particles from diesel based fuels lead to health risks such as exacerbating asthma, bronchitis and influenza among workers (citation). Others may include combustion-form carbon and other combustion products.

Air pollution in the indoor horse riding arena environment in west side has posed potential health risks on the horse riding instructions and trainers who primarily work on this area. It is also a common practice among the workers to wet the ground in attempts to keep away the dust. In due process, a humid environment is created that can be potentially harmful due to development of disease pathogens that may cause lung and respiratory complications. This report purposely analyses investigation in the exposure levels of the light-weight dust particles among the workers who are twice likely to develop chronic bronchitis as compared to their outdoor colleagues.

Sampling methodology

Personal sampling pumps were used to draw the ambient air through the air location devices at both Clem and Horse Arena- west side locations. Pump Model No. 814209 set at a flow rate of 2.018 Lmin-1 and Pump Model No. 818018 set at a flow rate of 2.029 Lmin-1 were fitted at the sample collection devices at Clem and Horse Arena- west side locations respectively.

The air sampling pumps were calibrated using Dry Gas Meters consisting of two bags interconnected using a cycle mounting device and mechanical values according to SKC.

A blank sampling device, with no air being drawn through it, was fitted with a Filter No. A3 was used along with the same lot of the personal sampling pumps to collect a blank sample to be used in the analysis.

The particulate matter samples were collected on pre-weighed filters: A2 -6.023 mg for Pump Model No. 814209, A1 -5.145 mg for Pump Model No. 818018 and A3 — 5.235 mgfor the blank sampling.

The samples were then stored in the laboratory for subsequent analysis to determine the identity and quantity of inorganic constituents present in the particulate matter.

After the samples had been collected, the devices were returned to the ‘analytical laboratories’ of the University of Western Sydney for analysis.

The air monitoring sample results collected during the field study were filled in the table shown in Appendix 1. Table 1 below shows the analysis and calculated results for the data collected during the air monitoring at the two sample locations, Clem and Horse Arena-west side.

Table 1: Summary of Sampling Results

Monitoring site……………………………………………………………………..…..Date: 23/08/2011

Contact Person……………………………………………………….………….……..Group: A

Sample Location

Filter No.

Pump Model & No.

Start Time

Finish Time

Sampling Time min

Start Flow Rate Lmin-1

Finish flow rate Lmin-1

Average flow rate Lmin-1

Sample volume m3

Pre-weight mg

Post-weight mg

Sample amount mg

Concentration mgm-3

Personal

0.621236

Horse Arena-

west side

Personal

0.603897

Discussion

The monitoring carried out aimed to collect dust samples so as to evaluate individual’s full shift TWA exposure.

The volume of air sampled at Clem was calculated to be 0.621236 m3 while at the Horse Arena-west side it was found to be 0.603897 m3. The weight of substances/ sample collected was 0.72 mg and 0.253 mg at Clem and Horse Arena-west side respectively.

The calculation of the concentration of the particulate matter based on the analytical laboratory results (i.e. the weight of the sample and the volume of air pulled by the pumps) indicate dust concentration of 1.159 mg/m3for Clem and 0.4189 mg/m3 for Horse Arena-west side. This presents the occupational exposure at these locations in mg/m3.

Since the samples were collected from the locations only once, the concentrations serve as the final time weighted average (TWA) i.e.

TWA = (C1T1 + C2T2……+CnTn)/ Exposure time;

In this case (at Clem), C1= 1.159 mg/m3, T1= 308 min, C2 and T2 are considered both to be zero because the full shifts had been covered.

Therefore, TWA = {(1.159 X 308) + (0 X 0)}/308 =1.159 mg/m3.

The final TWA remain to be 1.159 mg/m3.

Similarly, the TWA for the Horse Arena- west side location remain to be 0.4189 mg/m3.

In determining whether the exposures were unacceptably high, the exposure levels were compared with the acceptable exposure levels (AELs) according to the established regulatory by COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health regulations 2002). The Australian exposure standard for dust of any kind present is set to be at a concentration of 10 mg/m3 for an 8-hr TWA of inhalable dust. Any concentration above this limit is will be considered to be hazardous. The inhalable dust concentrations were 1.159 mg/m3for Clem and 0.4189 mg/m3 for Horse Arena-west side indicating that the inhalable dust exposures were within the range of acceptable exposure levels. However, further analysis needed to be done to determine whether the components complied with the assigned individual workplace exposure limits.

Conclusions

The air monitoring undertaken at both Clem and Horse Arena-west side show that inhalable dust exposures were below the exposure standards and therefore within the acceptable levels. The particulate matter concentration was, however, high at Clem as compared to Horse Arena- west side.

The extent of exposure to the inhalable dust determined indicates that the existing control measures put in place in both areas are adequate.

Recommendations

Since the inhalable dust exposures were below the exposure standards by the HSE (Health safety executive), it is recommended that the exposure levels are maintained or if possible reduced to as low as reasonably practicable according to the ALARP (As Low As Practically Practicable) principle. This can be done through:

  • Checking the existing control equipment regularly to ensure effectiveness.

  • Cleaning, repairing and carrying general maintenance to help improve the performance of the already existing ventilation system.

  • Designing and maintaining an effective local exhaust ventilation system.

  • Regular inspection of the local ventilation system as given by the specific control guidance by COSHH.

References

Appendix 1: Sampling Results

Occupational & Environmental Hygiene