Global Exposure Manager - International Occupational Hygiene ...

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Global Exposure Manager The newsletter of the International Occupational Hygiene Association

In this issue -- Training for everyone, everywhere (OHTA) -- South Korea wins bid to host 2020 IOHA meeting -- Investing in foreign exchange (National Association Spotlight - NVVA) -- Plus a round-up of IOHA members’ news and events and the latest from partner Chemical Risk Manager

September 2016 | Issue 2

Training for everyone, everywhere We saw an urgent need for practical occupational hygiene training that was accessible anywhere. We also saw the benefit of pooling resources to try and find common purpose and solution.

Roger Alesbury and Steve Bailey won the AIHA Yant Award earlier this year in recognition of their work for the Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA). Here, they describe the history of the association, the challenges faced and the lessons learned.

With this in hand, we went into workshops and conferences to raise awareness, and after extensive negotiation over several years, we secured funding and support from a group of national occupational hygiene societies, IOHA and major corporations.

In the early 2000s, it became apparent to many of us that occupational hygiene was experiencing a recruitment crisis, particularly in the emerging economies.

A new training initiative The negotiated solution took an inclusive approach that complemented and built on established programmes for training and qualifications, while creating an overarching, consistent, international framework.

The need for hygienists was as great as ever. According to the World Health Organization, there were 160m new cases of workrelated illness and two million lives lost globally each year.

In 2009, it was formalised with the formation of the OHTA.

But without national associations, training programmes and university courses, developing countries did not have the necessary resources to produce more hygienists. Consequently, the number of qualified hygienists entering the job market each year was in long-term decline.

Different levels of training were needed to meet the differing needs of managers, non-specialist employees, technicians and professionals. Therefore, the comprehensive framework incorporated five levels, which aligned with the training needs identified in the industry discussion document. Together, the levels provided a coherent pathway for career development.

Furthermore, it was hard to imagine how the momentum for change could be developed without some kind of concerted intervention. Globally, the occupational hygiene community was small compared to those of other disciplines, meaning resources and influence were hard to come by. Indeed, occupational hygiene is not even recognised as a discipline in many countries and in those in which it is the approaches to it differ significantly.

Now, in 2016, the framework is well established. Awareness training provides introductory information for employers and employees who need to know about the hazards in their workplaces and how they are controlled to provide a safe environment.

In response, a group of senior hygienists, of which we were part, prepared a discussion document elaborating the problem and its potential solutions. IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

For those aspiring to become hygiene professionals, with responsibility for designing and delivering occupational hygiene programmes in the workplace, advanced studies are needed. They would need to take an academic course, such as a master’s degree at a university, demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the specific industries and master the relevant practical skills. OHTA has focused first on developing industry-specific advanced modules to complement the technical and theoretical knowledge taught on academic programmes. Modules on the mining, oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries are nearing completion.

The principles level module (W201) introduces the basics of occupational hygiene. It explains: • how to identify health hazards in the workplace; • how to assess the risks that they pose; • when exposure measurements might be needed; and • how control measures can be selected and tested. It is suitable for people from related fields, such as safety and occupational health, as well as for managers and engineers who need a more in depth understanding than awareness training provides.

At the top of the career ladder, senior occupational hygienists operating at management levels within large organisations, or in consultancies, need to develop leadership skills in addition to mastery of the technical and professional skills. These leaders will play a major role in the future of the discipline. While OHTA has not yet developed separate leadership materials, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Future Leaders programme shows how skills in this area can be nurtured.

It provides a foundation for studying occupational hygiene at the higher levels and is designed to encourage more people to enter the profession. The intermediate level is designed for occupational hygiene technical staff. Such people might measure chemical or noise exposure levels, or test ventilation systems to see if they are effective.

OHTA developed its examination system with input from all the IOHA accredited examining boards. The system is currently administered by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) under a written agreement with OHTA.

The five day modular OHlearning training courses are focused on practical aspects of occupational hygiene, which was rated as extremely important by both students and employers. OHTA prioritised developing training materials and courses at this level as they would address directly the shortage of skilled people on the ground.

The OHTA website (, launched in 2010 and it provides online access to the training materials and course information. It is funded by IOHA, BOHS, the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) and AIHA.

The currently available intermediate modules are:

Meanwhile, a network of more than 70 approved training providers deliver training locally through partnerships with universities, charities and consultancies.

• W501 – Measurement of Hazardous Substances • W502 – Thermal Environment • W503 – Noise • W504 – Asbestos

By the end of April 2016, there had been more than 600 training courses in 40 countries with over 5,000 exam candidates. A significant number of the students have already moved their careers on by obtaining professional certification, such as certified industrial hygienist (CIH) accreditation. At least four new University courses have also been established using the OHTA modules.

• W505 – Control of Hazardous Substances • W506 – Ergonomics • W507 - Health Effects of Hazardous Substances Students who successfully pass six intermediate modules can apply for the International Certificate in Occupational Hygiene (ICertOH) by submitting a portfolio of their experience and taking an oral exam. The first wave of students has now achieved this.

OHlearning allows employers to develop OH capabilities from the grassroots up, particularly, but not exclusively, in developing countries. Employers have access to quality assured training materials and an international network of approved training providers. Employers can develop specific levels of skill where and when required. For students, OHlearning provides a common occupational hygiene training and career ladder and facilitates mobility, through internationally recognised qualifications, including the new intermediate level certification. Also, the training is accepted as a route to meeting educational requirements for professional accreditations, such as the CIH accreditation. OHlearning modules have been used as foundations for several new university courses, including a distance-learning programme.

IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

Obstacles encountered

Language and culture

We encountered a range of challenges in our attempts to create a global scheme.

OHTA initially developed all its materials in English, but we quickly realised the need for multiple language options and started translating them. Since then, we have encountered some linguistic challenges. For example, languages don’t always have direct equivalents for important words such as hazard and risk or for descriptions of technical items, such as the cowl on an asbestos sampling head. Explanations have to be carefully constructed and sometimes new words chosen to avoid semantic difficulties.

Regulatory regimes Different countries have different regulatory regimes involving varying approaches and standards. We tried to focus on the common elements, identifying what constitutes good occupational hygiene practice everywhere, to make the courses independent of national regulations.

In response, OHTA adopted a two stage translation process: translation by a native speaker with a technical background followed by independent validation by professionally qualified hygienists. The materials are then piloted to check that the feedback from students is satisfactory.

Technical practices Similarly, technical practices vary from country to country. For example, the particulate sampling techniques preferred in one region, may not be the preferred technique in another.

Some cultural differences can be accommodated relatively easily by local tutors during course delivery. For example, in some regions the decimal point in a number is represented as a full stop (or period in US English), and a comma in others.

The solution was not to select one method over others but to try to understand the reasons for the differences and explain how the interpretation of results should reflect the selection.

More difficult was the variation in connotation for certain words, such as technician between regions. OHTA had to develop alternative terms to convey some concepts without cultural baggage.

All OHTA materials are written by subject experts and peer reviewed internationally. Drafts are posted for consultation in the community section of the OHlearning website. The courses are then piloted and revised to accommodate lessons learned. Only after that are course materials approved and published formally in the main section of the OHlearning.

Development of the global community It was frequently necessary to challenge established ways of thinking, for example by suggesting that commercial businesses be eligible – and encouraged – to play a role in training delivery alongside universities, charities and NGOs.

Languages don’t always have direct equivalents for important words such as hazard and ‘risk

Some ground rules emerged and proved enormously helpful in guiding the discussions. Whenever possible, we aim to:

National systems

• share openly knowledge, skills and materials;

Multiple qualification and certification schemes operate at national level. National associations have invested heavily in these and are understandably reluctant to change them to come into alignment with a global scheme. We were able to get recognition for OHTA modules such that they would count as contributing elements towards the national qualifications. For example, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) will give exemption from study requirements for its CIH qualification, based on completed OHTA modules.

• maintain transparency in the process for training and assessment; • keep costs affordable; • keep the system as simple as possible; • involve all stakeholders on an equal footing; • encourage a sense of ownership among participants; • ensure all draft materials are peer reviewed; • obtain feedback and make continuous improvements; and • seek common ground and consensus rather than looking for the perfect solution or focusing on problems.

Delivering results Now, in 2016, the association can offer opportunities to a range of stakeholders. For students, there are flexible routes of entry in occupational hygiene and new career pathways. We are progressively introducing scholarships and awards for those who need financial assistance to study. For universities, there are opportunities to promote their existing programmes through the OHlearning website and thereby IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

appeal to an international market. They can also use OHlearning materials to supplement their own teaching. For training providers, there are the benefits of reduced cost of entry to the field and access to a new customer base. They gain marketing benefits from the branding of the international system and their status as ‘approved training providers’. For employers, there is the focus on practical skills training, which delivers immediate results where and when required. In the longer term they should also benefit from better staff development and loyalty. As the pool of people with harmonised qualifications grows, employers should find it easier to recruit the right people for hygiene roles.

as should professionals in other fields, such as HR, safety and medicine. More countries should be encouraged to adopt the scheme.

For equipment suppliers, there is the potential to form partnerships with training providers in order to set up loans of equipment for course practicals and demonstrations. Such partnerships help to build brand awareness amongst the students.

But in the meantime we hope that the occupational hygiene community can build on our experience. Occupational hygiene is a small profession globally. IOHA represents about 20,000 people in 30 countries. Only 7,500 of them are professionally qualified and 85% of those are in North America. Compare that, for example, with the UK Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), which has a total membership of more than 44,000 and about a third of members hold professional certification.

And lastly, for the global occupational hygiene community there is the support for the IOHA strategic goals and promotion of the discipline that OHlearning provides directly.

Work ahead Much remains to be done, of course. More work is needed to raise awareness of occupational hygiene as an attractive career option and stimulate demand for professional competence to create a sustainable supply of competent workers from which companies can recruit.

IOSH achieved its rapid growth by opting for a tiered approach to membership that provides training and membership opportunities for individuals at each stage of expertise and career progression. This creates a broad-based pyramid of members that feeds new recruits through to the professional levels. The resulting growth has strengthened the influence of the safety profession and the role and status of those professionally qualified.

A profession that is globally united around good occupational hygiene practice will secure much greater influence

Similarly, OHTA aims to advance occupational hygiene globally by raising awareness and encouraging engagement. Since OHlearning was launched in April 2010 it has had 110,000 users and 900,000 page views in 208 countries. Of the users, 84% were English speakers. Even so, it currently averages only a little over 100 users a day on a typical weekday and there is much more to do.

A wider range of courses is needed at all levels. Awareness courses might take various forms, including self-study, short courses and toolbox talks. Specialist courses might make use of materials on highly technical subjects that go beyond the normal professional certifications. Developing courses early will encourage hygienists to stay abreast of emerging issues and diversify into new fields.

OHTA chose to reflect the opinions of a wide range of stakeholders, including training providers and organisations funding the employment and use of occupational hygienists. It is easy to presume that occupational hygiene professionals know best what training and qualifications are needed, but in reality it is imperative to find out what the customer wants. That means talking to employers of occupational hygienists and defining the business case that will create a pull from them.

The existing courses need to be improved. Changes in technology and practice should be reflected. There is a need for supplementary distance-learning materials as pre-work and to reinforce learning by self-study. With this in mind, OHTA is developing a wide variety of techniques and materials and is keen to explore flexible delivery options, such as distance learning.

Employers stressed the importance of looking at and meeting practical needs so that students could immediately engage in useful work. They also wanted courses delivered locally in bite size chunks to make it affordable to build skills as and when required. We built the training framework around one week modules. The case for each course is discrete and manageable – further funding can be based on the candidate’s performance and delivery to employer of improved health protection. Further work is now

The hard work on translations needs to continue. Commercial sponsorship of the first translation is often required. And OHlearning must be promoted. Employers, including private and government organisations, should be engaged, IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

in progress to develop distance learning options and provide even greater flexibility while maintaining the quality and practical tuition.


Our vision is that OHTA will provide a platform to grow the occupational hygiene community. We can promote our global framework to the world and we can work together to leverage our respective strengths. Together we can:

EuroSafety 2016 13-15 September, Tampere, Finland The Finnish Occupational Hygiene Society (FOHS) will be exhibiting and will also hold a short seminar during the event.

• stimulate people worldwide to learn more about occupational hygiene; • create a feeder stream of students wanting to study for higher qualifications, including university degrees and professional certification;

Occupational and Environmental Exposure of Skin to Chemicals (OEESC) 19-21 September, Manchester, UK

• support national associations with tools and publicity to help them achieve growth; and

2016 International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Meeting

• act as a catalyst for formation of new national associations in countries that do not have them and work with them to help achieve membership of IOHA.

9-13 October, Utrecht, the Netherlands

American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Fall Conference

A profession that is globally united around good occupational hygiene practice will secure much greater influence. Our hope is that the same principles that have enabled the development of OHTA can be applied more broadly to assist with developing international standards, harmonising international regulations and supporting developing countries to introduce their own legislation.

24-25 October, San Antonio, US

XVII Symposium of the Polish Occupational Hygienists Association on current issues 25-27 October, Lodz, Poland

The future of OHTA will be determined by the global OH community. What we have is not perfect, but it’s a good start. You can help make it better.

18th International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP) Conference 7-11 November, Yokohama, Japan

Roger Alesbury is a Past President of the British Occupational Hygiene Society and was Industrial Hygiene Director for BP until he retired.

As part of its programme, the conference will host the IOHA board meeting.

Steve Bailey is a Past President of the British Occupational Hygiene Society and was Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety for GlaxoSmithKline until he retired.

The 2016 Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) Annual Conference and Exhibition, Hygiene that works 3-7 December, Gold Coast, Australia

Visit our website for an up to date list of events:

The Global Exposure Manager has been compiled for IOHA by the on-line information service, Chemical Risk Manager. Disclaimer While great care has been taken with the compilation of this newsletter, IOHA, its Directors, the editor and the authors of articles accept no responsibility for opinions, errors and omissions that may be made in this Newsletter. The responsibility for opinions expressed in signed articles rests solely with their authors and does not constitute an endorsement by the IOHA.

IOHA Newsletter

International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) 5/6 Melbourne Business Court Millennium Way Derby DE24 8LZ UK

Chemical Risk Manager Editorial Andrew Turley: [email protected] Sales Charlotte Spencer: [email protected] 2 Nettles Lane, Shrewsbury, SY3 8RJ

T: +44 (0) 1332 298 101 F: +44 (0) 1332 298 099 E: [email protected]

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September 2016

Members’ round up SAIOH, AIHA and BOHS appreciate the importance of research and new knowledge in developing and applying preventive measures in occupational safety and health. Furthermore, they share a common mission to contribute to the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases. Hence, they plan to cooperate to use their collaborative efforts and expertise to advance the protection of workers and to promote best practices to improve worker safety and health.

Malaysia The Malaysian Industrial Hygiene Association (MIHA) will hold its international conference and exhibition (ICE) at the Seri Pacific Hotel in the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur on 18-20 October. The theme of the conference will be Managing OSH through challenging times. MIHA ICE 2016 will provide an opportunity for OSH professionals to share, learn and network in relation to industrial hygiene.

It is envisaged that, subject to the availability of funding and other resources, the cooperation will consist of the following measures:

Innovative, collaborative and new ways of working with other disciplines are the key success factors for the growing field of industrial hygiene.

• the organisations will share scientific information and publications. The SAIOH OHSA journal, for example, will be made available electronically to AIHA and BOHS as and when published and AIHA and BOHS submissions will be welcomed. SAIOH members will be able to subscribe to the AIHA newsletter and official journal. BOHS will offer reduced price access to its research journal to SAIOH members via the international partners agreement;

MIHA promotes continual development and sharing of case studies, HSE research and technology that will provide robust approaches and actions for worker health and protection – something that all safety and health professionals are working towards. To complement the sharing of scientific and professional practices, and in addition to the professional development courses (PDCs) on 18 October, there will be an array of trade displays, as well as networking opportunities.

• the organisations will share institutional and association newsletters; • the organisations will identify occupational hygiene initiatives that might lend themselves to joint collaboration, such as training courses, seminars and conferences where workplace safety and health are proactively addressed;

The following PDCs will be offered: • PDC 1: Management of Asbestos Risk and Removal

• the organisations will identify opportunities for transferring and promoting knowledge and findings in the field of occupational safety and health, and exchange of information as related to technical programmes in fields of mutual interest; and

• PDC 2: Leadership for the Occupational Hygiene Profession and Your Future! • PDC 3: Exposure Risk Assessment – Practical Tools Handson Workshop

• the organisations will explore the potential for the development of exchange programmes for visits by scientific personnel to the sites of respective entities, with the ultimate aim of building capacity and expertise in occupational hygiene.

• PDC 4: Manual Handling and Awkward Postures – Practical Assessments and control Guidance • PDC 5: Ethics in Industrial Hygiene For more detailed information, visit



Early registration is now open for the 34th Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH), to be held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast on 3-7 December 2016.

The Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH) has signed five-year memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).

Meanwhile, the organising committee has announced the presenters for the keynote, plenary and continuing education sessions. These include the AIHCE highest rating PDC presenter over many years, Dennis Driscoll of Associates in Acoustics Inc, US. Mr Driscoll will be the conference’s only keynote speaker and sponsored by Safety Equipment Australia. He will discuss a practical approach to hearing loss and present a CES on noise control engineering.

The broad aims and objectives of SAIOH are: • to nurture the interests of its members; • to promote education and training in the occupational hygiene discipline; and • to create and sustainably maintain opportunities for professional development and mentorship support.

In addition to the professional interactivity of the conference, a full trade exhibition will be held as well as the ever popular social functions lending a friendly atmosphere to network and facilitate exchange.

The agreements, which will help SAIOH achieve these aims and objectives, are the culmination of proactive interaction and liaison between representatives of SAIOH, AIHA and BOHS, during 2014 and 2015.

IOHA Newsletter

For further information and to register, visit:


September 2016

South Korea wins bid to host 2020 IOHA meeting The two teams were required to submit their proposals prior to the meeting. Then, at the meeting, they had 45 minutes to make their case, followed by a question and answer session.

The South Korean Industrial Hygiene Association (KIHA) will host the 2020 IOHA International Scientific Conference in Daegu following a successful bid to the IOHA board.

“It was lovely to see so much effort and thought going into the bids,” said Dr Niven. “There was huge enthusiasm – we even had some members of the South Korean tourist board fly over from Seoul to give presentations.”

The South Korean team faced competition from the Joint Latin American Associations, led by the Mexican Industrial Hygiene Association (AMHI).

The bid described the recent growth of occupational hygiene in Asia. Two organisations were established in 2015: the Vietnam Industrial Hygiene Association (VIHA) and the Indonesian Industrial Hygiene Association (IIHA). Additionally, other Asian countries are now preparing to establish equivalents, including Thailand, India and China, the bid said. It also highlighted the benefits of Daegu as the host city, which it described as “centrally located and well known as an attractive yet affordable city”.

At the most recent board meeting, held in The Hague, the Netherlands, the board voted unanimously in favour of the KIHA bid, which IOHA president Karen Niven said “ticked every box”. One of the things that set the South Korean bid apart was the sponsorship that it had already obtained. The team intends to use some of the money to fund international student attendance at the event.

It was agreed at the meeting that the South Korean association would mentor the Latin American associations so that they could build on their experience should they bid to host the 2023 event.

Dr Niven described both bids as “extremely professional”. She added: “The Joint Latin American Associations bid was actually very strong as well. They just, perhaps, didn’t have the same experience, if there was anything lacking.”

IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

Investing in foreign exchange National association spotlight regardless of the number of proposals. The committee will not award the prize, if there is no proposal of sufficient quality.

The €10,000 Buitenlandbeurs Prize gives Dutch occupational hygienists the chance to pursue special projects overseas. Andrew Turley talks to Andrea Hiddinga, chair of the judging committee of the Dutch Occupational Hygiene Association (NVvA), about what prospective applicants need to know.

Generally, proposals are of a high standard, Ms Hiddinga says. But if a given proposal is weak, it is most often because the applicant has failed to provide enough clarity or not presented a complete picture. For example, there may be insufficient budgetary information, or the applicant may not have made explicit that there are connections with other projects and organisations outside of the NVvA.

What is the Buitenlandbeurs Prize?

What responsibilities does the winner have?

The prize is awarded annually and open to all members of theNVvA. The aim of the prize is to facilitate the development of occupational hygiene outside the Netherlands and help disseminate knowledge of the field as widely as possible. Applicants submit proposals outlining their intended work schedule and the winner, announced each year at the NVvA conference, receives up to €10,000 to fund their project.

The winner is asked to give a presentation at the following conference and, once the project is completed, prepare an article for the NVvA journal. The winner should plan to complete their project within a year of the prize being awarded. However, logistical issues sometimes make this impractical. In such instances, alternative schedules can usually be accommodated. “The priority is that the work is carried out to a high standard,” Ms Hiddinga adds.

Proposals are judged against the following criteria: • the extent to which the country or region offers potential for the development of occupational hygiene as a discipline;

What successes has the programme had?

• the size of the ‘at risk’ population;

Ms Hiddinga says that the work of the 2012 winner Rudolf van der Haar has proved significant. The project: Strengthening development of Occupational Health Societies in Latin America, has improved communication between the occupational hygiene communities in different Spanish speaking countries. This has been a boon for IOHA, as well as NVvA, she says.

• the originality of the proposed activity; • the clarity and completeness of the proposal; • the extent to which the proposed activity links up with NVvA activities; • the extent to which the budget can be considered realistic; • the short-term probability of success; and

Ms Hiddinga also cites the work of André Winkes, who has won the award twice, in 2011 and 2015. His 2011 project involved the translation of ten Pimex instructional videos, which were at that time only available in Dutch. According to Ms Hiddinga, the New Zealand government is now interested in using the English translations in their training. “This is a good result,” she says.

• the long-term implementation opportunity. Applicants must score at least 70% across these criteria in order to be considered.

What are the chances of success? Ms Hiddinga says that in recent years, the number of proposals has been quite low. Indeed, there was only one proposal for the 2016 competition. But the judging process remains the same, IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

Round-up from:

Chemical Risk Manager For men, the occupational group with the highest probability of exposure was farmers and animal workers, with the team estimating that 97% of workers were exposed to at least one asthmagen. The groups with the next highest probabilities were:

Study estimates Australian workers asthmagen exposure New research suggests that 47% of male and 40% of female workers in Australia are exposed to one or more asthmagens in their workplace.

• metal workers (96%); • wood workers (96%); • food preparation workers (92%);

The Extended Australian Work Exposure Study (Awes-2) considered 277 asthmagens, including chemicals, such aldehydes, isocyanates and latex, as well as other substances, such as bioaerosols, mites and wood dusts.

• mechanical workers (92%).

The researchers captured job information from 4,878 participants via telephone interviews. They then used OcclDEAS – an online epidemiology tool – to link occupational tasks to potential exposures. They also extrapolated the data from the study participants to the general population of Australia.

• carers (99%);

For women, the groups with the highest probabilities were: • farmers and animal workers (100%); • cleaners (96%); • food preparation workers (96%); and • nurses (92%). “It is also possible that the rate of new cases of occupational asthma and work-aggravated asthma could be reduced if the information from this research is used to focus preventative efforts,” says director of research and evaluation at Safe Work Australia Fleur de Crespigny.

The most common exposures for male workers were to bioaerosols, with the team estimating that 29% of the male workforce in Australia was exposed. The next most common were to: • metals (27%);

“Medical practitioners may find this information useful in identifying likely work-related factors when diagnosing and treating patients.”

• arthropods or mites (25%); and • latex (22%). The most common exposures for female workers were to:

Further Information

• latex (25%);

Journal article: articles/10.1186/s12890-016-0212-6

• industrial cleaning and sterilising agents (20%); • bioaerosols (18%); and • arthropods or mites (16%). IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

SWA summary: research/hazard-surveillance/pages/awes-asthmagens

Specifically, they predate the implementation of techniques that have significantly reduced the risks.


Chromium (VI) compounds

Proposed OELs ‘disproportionate’ for SMEs

The OEL for chromium (VI) compounds would have a “massive” impact on companies that rely on manual welding of electric arcs and processes involving soluble compounds. The proposal should include a “subdivision in limit values” to allow lighter regimes for certain production processes.

The European Commission proposal to revise the carcinogens and mutagens Directive (CMD) in relation to 13 occupational exposure limits (OELs) is “disproportionate”, according to SMEs trade body, Ueapme.

1,3-butadiene Similarly, the OEL for 1,3-butadiene should be less strict. The one proposed could have a “massive” impact on key activities, particularly loading and sampling.

In a position statement, Ueapme says the proposed changes to the OELs would have a specific impact on small firms, particularly with regard to compliance costs. It is especially critical of the proposed OEL for respirable crystalline silica (RCS), which it says should be removed and addressed via the chemical agents Directive (CAD) instead.

Further Information Position statement: position_on_Carcinogens_and_Mutagens_Directive_Revision. pdf

Some of the limit values, it says, would lead to “strong and excessive investment requirements”, which would have greater negative impact on SMEs and micro-enterprises. It adds that “such extreme measures” might result in non-compliance, without improving worker protection.

Niosh launches app version of US chemicals guide

Investment would relate to new, or updates to existing, equipment, needed to reduce exposure or comply with measurement requirements.

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) has launched a mobile app for its Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.

Its objection relates specifically to:

It comes as a free online resource that provides information on 600 chemical substances with the aim of helping users recognise and control chemical hazards in the workplace.

• hardwood dusts - for which the Commission has proposed an OEL of 3mg/m3; • RCS - 0.1mg/m3; • 1,3 - butadiene – 2.2mg/m3.

The app was developed as part of a National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) project award. It can be used on any device with an HTML5 compatible browser.

Hardwood dusts

Further Information

• chromium (VI) compounds - 0.025mg/m3; and


The association says a less strict OEL is needed, and there should be a general exemption for fresh hardwood because it emits less dust. Respirable crystalline silica

Asia aims at new worker protection network

A clear distinction is needed, says Ueapme, between the relevant sectors. Some, such as mining, work solely with RCS, while others, such as construction, work with it only partly but could be heavily affected by a lower OEL in terms of some “very basic” activities, involving substances such as sand.

The Asian Network of Occupational Hygiene (ANOH) has run its first conference with the aim of building awareness in the region and developing a network of occupational hygiene experts.

Risk assessment procedures, it says, should take these sectoral differences into account.

The ANOH is seeking ways to develop and enhance the concept of industrial hygiene in an “Asian way”, said ANOH president Dooyong Park at the meeting, which was attended by over 100 people.

Scientific consensus is lacking on the question of whether RCS is a direct carcinogen or “only acts in a secondary stage on preexisting silicosis lesions”, Ueapme says. As a result, it challenges the classification and its inclusion in the CMD annex.

Demand in Asia has sharply increased in recent years, following rapid economic development, he explained. “We believe networking and collaboration is the way to overcome these difficulties. We also believe we need to explore ways to enable efficient implementation and to make effective

And figures used by the Commission to calculate the number of deaths avoided by changing the OEL are, it says, not suitable. IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

interventions. In order to do this, the social context and relationships should be considered. This is what we call the Asian way,” Mr Park said. Le Van Trinh, president of the Vietnam Occupational Safety and Health Association, said that respiratory diseases accounted for 30% of work-related illnesses in Vietnam, eye-related illnesses 6% and hearing problems 2%. Elsye As Safira from the Indonesian Industrial Hygiene Association said most Asian countries shared the same challenges when shifting from agricultural to high-tech industries. He added that those challenges ranged from old-fashioned industrial hygiene problems, such as noise and issues with gases and vapours, to emerging issues with cutting-edge technology, such as nanoparticles.

The problem relates to so-called minimum classifications – harmonised classifications arising from complications between the 1967 dangerous substances Directive (DSD) and the CLP Regulation, which came into force in 2009. The DSD created a list of hazard classifications that were incompatible with CLP and thus had to be translated when the legislative environment evolved.

Thinking about training Supply of industrial hygiene professionals is currently lagging behind demand, however.

Recently published research shows that in 25-50% of cases – the exact figure depends on the specific hazard class – the substance is more hazardous than indicated by the minimum classification.

Hans Thore Smedbold, director of the Occupational Hygiene Training Association, said that the current occupational hygiene skills and practices only met a quarter of what was needed.

In a paper published in April, Norbert Neuwirth and Joe Püringer from the Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA) determined the extent of the problem. They compared minimum classifications with REACH registration data for acute toxicity endpoints, including dermal exposure and inhalation. They also identified some of the potential consequences for OSH, as well as plant safety.

The problem was exacerbated by poor data, a lack of updated management software and overlapping international and external resources, added Narhazlina Mydin from Petronas Malaysia. Hajime Hori, from the University of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health in Japan, said that, although the country had adopted a system of lifelong learning about worker safety, it was very hard to graduate in the field. In fact, only about 30% of students studying the worker safety curriculum graduated in 2015.

For example, the hazard classification of the substance is fundamental to many of the well-established methods for occupational risk assessment. Thus, incorrect classification could readily lead to unsuitable – and potentially insufficiently protective – risk management measures. These include those prescribed by popular control banding software tools, such as Stoffenmanager, EMKG and Coshh Essentials.

Alan Rogers, a fellow of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH), said that an uninterrupted learning system with understandable and transparent training methods, both online and offline, together with field work, would produce the best results. He added that professional development awards should be put in place to acknowledge people in the field so that more people would feel encouraged to take such jobs. It could become a “new career path”, he said.

Minimum classifications Harmonised classifications resulting from translation from the DSD list are known as minimum classifications because of the approach to translation prescribed in CLP. The DSD categories do not match up exactly with the CLP ones, resulting in areas of overlap. According to the underlying toxicity data, a classification falling within one of those areas could, in theory, be translated into either of two adjacent CLP categories. Under CLP, however, it translated into the less severe category, resulting in a minimum classification.

Ching-An Feng of Tajen University said that, in Taiwan, the local government launched a study course with animated films to teach the concepts of occupational hygiene to elementary school children three years ago. The conference will take place annually. Next year it could be held in Bangkok, Thailand or Guangzhou, China.

Companies must use the minimum classification in the supply chain information they distribute downstream, unless they have access to data or other information indicating a more severe classification applies. In such cases, the more severe classification must be used.

Study reveals flaws in minimum classification system

But the authors argue that, given the obvious incentive to label products according to less severe classifications, companies are unlikely to seek out opposing data if a minimum classification

The current process for setting EU harmonised classifications under CLP could be leading to inaccurate supply chain information with significant implications for occupational safety and health (OSH), according to recently published research. IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

on how occupational exposure limits (OELs) and derived no effect levels Dnels) should be used in relation to each other.

is available. In some cases, enforcement authorities might suspect the company of wilfully ignoring such data, but they are unlikely to be able to prove as much.

It describes in particular what users of chemicals should do when, for a given substance, the quoted Dnel is different to the OEL for the same duration and route of exposure.

Occupational safety and health The authors found current safety data sheets (SDSs) for high-volume substances that used minimum classifications corresponding to hazard levels below those indicated by the REACH registration data. SDSs for bromine, for example, used the minimum classification for acute toxicity via inhalation: category 2. But the self-classification for bromine given in the registered substances database was category 1, a more severe classification.

The interim guidance suggests: • when a Dnel is lower than an OEL, the risk management measures (RMMs) that achieve the Dnel should ensure that the OEL is also achieved. If the RMMs are not sufficient to achieve the Dnel then the user should contact its supplier and ensure that its own occupational safety and health assessment identifies measures that bring exposure below the OEL and into compliance with legal duties under occupational legislation. Companies supplying the substance, and its registrants, will need to resolve the discrepancy with quoted RMMs if they are not capable of achieving the Dnel, which they will have to review;

The consequences for occupational risk assessment and plant safety could be serious, they say: “The Seveso III Directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances explicitly refers to the categories of acute toxicity. A false – less severe – classification results in false – less severe – demands in plant safety.” This could mean the use of a substance in higher quantities or without special safety measures.

• when a Dnel is higher than an OEL, users are required to control exposure to below the OEL under occupational safety and health legislation. If the RMMs suggested by the supplier achieve the Dnel but not the OEL, then the user will still need to comply with occupational legislation and control exposure to below the OEL; and

The study was published in the journal Gefahrstoffe Reinhaltung der Luft.

• where both the Dnel and OEL is the same, provided the RMMs are effective at controlling exposure to below the Dnel, they will also be controlling the level to below the OEL. However, OSH legislation will put the emphasis on collective measures and engineering control to achieve adequate exposure control so the user will still need to assess this to ensure compliance with their duties under OSH.

Caracal meeting The issue was raised this week by the Austrian compentent authority during the Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (Caracal) meeting. The authority described the situation as very alarming and called for a specific discussion on the topic so that an “urgently needed” general approach to the issue could be developed.

The guidance also notes there are no OELs set for skin absorption or ingestion. Therefore the issue of differing Dnels and OELs do not arise. It says Dnels for these exposure routes, and associated RMMS, will be the main way of controlling exposure in such cases.

Furthermore, it proposed immediate action: “Member States’ authorities could agree on a voluntary basis that whenever a new classification dossier is submitted to Echa which contains a minimum classification, the dossier should also cover a proposal for the appropriate acute toxicity classification. We believe that the well documented fact that a minimum classification may be wrong should comprise a sufficient justification in accordance with CLP article 36 (3).”

Echa’s Risk Assessment Committee (Rac) and the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (Scoel) of the European Commission have a mandate to investigate how the procedures for deriving OELs and Dnels might be better aligned.

However, it recognised the need to go beyond this: “In view of the rather dramatic extent of the existing inconsistencies as demonstrated in the publication this step is certainly insufficient for a solution of the problem and thus a more general approach is urgently needed.”

The ongoing issue was brought to the fore by confusion over the solvent N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), the subject of a recent Scoel opinion.

Further Information

Further Information


Document (in English): cId=15614&langId=en


Document (in French): Id=15614&langId=fr

EU Commission issues interim OEL-Dnel guidance

Document (in German): ocId=15614&langId=de

The Senior Labour Inspector’s Commission (Slic) – a European Commission body – has produced interim guidance for inspectors IOHA Newsletter


September 2016

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