Occupational Hygiene implications of processing waste at Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs): Exposure to bioaerosol and dust - RR977

This report presents the findings of a study to investigate exposures to dust and its microbiological components amongst workers employed at Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs). The report shows the potential for workers to be exposed to general airborne dust above the level where it is considered a substance hazardous to health (10 mg/m3 as an 8-hr TWA). Also, there is the potential for exposure to fungi and bacteria, as well as endotoxins, which are agents known to have harmful effects on human health. Endotoxin exposures may be at levels greater than the health-based limit identified by the Dutch Expert Committee on Occupational Safety of 90 EU/m3.

The report concludes that the health implications of employee exposure to dust and bioaerosols was not fully considered at the sites visited. This was associated with a lack of corporate occupational health strategies and a failure to adequately manage health and hygiene provision. Areas for improvement identified included: undertaking suitable and sufficient risk assessments; adoption of well implemented, risk-based health surveillance programmes; and the provision of adequate hygiene facilities.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr977.pdf



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