2017-07-01 12:00 - Messages

Review of vapour cloud explosion incidents

Major incidents worldwide have involved large vapour cloud explosions, including the Buncefield explosion in 2005. It is important to learn from historical incidents to understand the risk profile of installations.
Following the Buncefield explosion, a large body of published research has improved scientific understanding of the release event, the flammable cloud formation and the explosion. This report describes work done by HSE with US safety regulators to consolidate previous research and to incorporate recently published analysis into a single, systematic review of historical incidents.
Important new conclusions have been reached that a high proportion of large vapour cloud explosions occur at nil or very low wind speeds. In these conditions, the dispersion from large and medium scale releases will be gravity-driven and the vapour cloud will continue to grow as long as it remains undetected. Large vapour clouds will almost always ignite, the probability of a severe explosion event is very high, especially for gasoline.
These findings have important implications for safety practitioners considering installations where such releases of flammable substances can occur. They reinforce the importance of the main risk control measures of overfill prevention and maintaining plant integrity; but they also suggest that the value of mitigation measures such as vapour detectors and vapour barriers should be reviewed.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1113.htm

Opportunité et risques des nanomatériaux

Le Programme national de recherche PNR 64 «Opportunités et risques des nanomatériaux» a démarré début 2010. 23 groupes de recherche de toute la Suisse ont examiné les opportunités et les risques présentés par les nanomatériaux synthétiques aux différents stades de leur cycle de vie.
Parmi les groupes de recherche, celui mené par Mickael Riediker, ancien chef de groupe à l'IST, est le seul à s'être chargé d'investiguer l'impact des nanomatériaux sur les travailleurs.

Source: http://www.i-s-t.ch/linstitut/activites-et-evenements/actualites/detail-des-actualites/news/opportunites-et-risques-des-nanomateriaux/

Dutyholder evidence - Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (Post Implementation Review)

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) set minimum standards for the protection of employees and others from the risks related to exposure to asbestos. CAR2012 includes a statutory requirement to assess their effectiveness after they have been operational of a period of time: the so-called ‘Post Implementation Review' (PIR). The purpose of the PIR is to evaluate the regulatory framework, rather than to examine government policy on control of asbestos.
One part of the evidence required for the PIR process is the views and experiences of dutyholders who need to comply with the regulations during the course of their work. This report describes research undertaken to provide this evidence. A series of workshops, focus groups and an online survey were undertaken. The research found that generally the dutyholders considered that the regulations are: i) beneficial in preventing and/or reducing the risk of exposure to asbestos, raising awareness, and setting clear standards; and ii) that they are practical to implement.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1106.htm

Une nouvelle méthodologie pour vérifier les compteurs de noyaux de condensation

Les compteurs de noyaux de condensation, instruments de mesure en temps réel de la concentration en nombre des particules submicroniques dispersées dans l'air, présentent de nombreux avantages. Afin de vérifier les performances des instruments disponibles sur le marché, l'INRS a mis au point une méthode, le dispositif de contrôle des compteurs. Cet article en présente le fonctionnement, les avantages et un exemple d'application.

Source: http://www.hst.fr/dms/hst/data/articles/HST/TI-NT-51/nt51.pdf

Particules minérales allongées

Identification des sources d'émission et proposition de protocoles de caractérisation et de mesures
La réalisation de ces travaux porte spécifiquement sur les espèces minérales suivantes: actinolite, anthophyllite, trémolite, amosite/grunérite, crocidolite/riébeckite, fluoro-édénite,
winchite, richtérite, érionite, chrysotile et antigorite. Les PMA issues de ces espèces minérales sont dénommées PMA d'intérêt (PMAi) dans l'expertise de l'Anses.

Source: https://www.anses.fr/fr/system/files/AIR2016SA0034Ra.pdf

Use of Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plans in Private Dental Practices

Results and Clinical Implications of a National Survey
Dental healthcare workers (DHWs) are at risk for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens (BBPs). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires employers to have a written exposure control plan (ECP) detailing methods and means to reduce and manage occupational BBP exposures. Because little information is available on whether ECPs are created and used, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention conducted an online survey to determine if dental practices had an ECP, whether present ECPs had the necessary components, and if impediments existed to prevent having an ECP in place. Respondents were primarily from nonfranchised practices (69%) and dentists who owned the practice (63%). Seventy-two percent of survey participants had an ECP, and 20% were unaware of any federal requirements for an ECP prior to the survey. Engineering controls were used by many practices, although the type varied. Fifteen percent of practices did not offer the hepatitis B vaccine for employees. The survey revealed many dental practices were unaware of or were lacking required elements of the ECP. Findings from this survey indicate DHWs would benefit from increased education regarding methods to prevent occupational exposures to BBPs.

Source: Laramie, A. K., Bednarsh, H., Isman, B., Boiano, J. M., & McCrone, S. H. (2017). Compendium of continuing education in dentistry, 38(6), 398.


TREXMO (Translation of Exposure Models) is a recently developed peer-reviewed web-based tool that aimed to facilitate exposure assessment and chemicals registrations for authorities (e.g. SECO) and industry. The tool includes six commonly used models, i.e. ART, Stoffenmanager, ECETOC TRA v3, MEASE and EMKG-EXPO-TOOL and EASE. Excluding EASE, the models in TREXMO are recommended under the EU’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of CHemicals) legislation. The tool is also applicable in Switzerland since the Swiss chemical regulations are conceptualized to be similar to those in EU.
The exposure models in TREXMO are connected with semi-automatic translations. These translations are aimed to guide the downstream users (e.g. registrants) to a more reliable use of the exposure models. With TREXMO, the users should thus benefit from less uncertain and safer exposure and risk assessment.

Source: http://www.i-s-t.ch/recherche/outils-en-ligne/trexmo-tool/

Summary of evidence – Solvent-based hydrophobic coatings and risks for acute respiratory toxicity

Water repellent coatings are increasingly used by different industries to reduce water and dirt sticking to surfaces. The coatings can be applied by processes that minimise the risk that operators inhale the product but there is evidence that some products are applied by spraying, creating an inhalable mist.
This review examined evidence about these coatings and whether lung disease occurs when applied by spraying. Scientific studies on the hazardous properties of these products, and clinical studies reporting lung disease in people using them, were considered.
A consistent finding was that some people develop an acute lung inflammation when applying these coatings by spray misting. Studies across Great Britain, Europe and the United States reported several hundred cases of serious lung disease and some fatalities, mostly in consumers applying such products using pressurised spray cans in poorly ventilated spaces. Experimental studies suggest that the different water repellent ingredients and solvents in which they are dissolved combine to damage the delicate lining of the lung.
Smart surface coatings offer many industrial and societal benefits. However, they should be applied by methods that minimise the risk of inhaling the product.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1112.htm

Les actes du Forum sur les cancérogènes professionnels maintenant en ligne

En avril 2017, l'IRSST a organisé le Forum sur l'exposition aux cancérogènes professionnels. Ce forum a permis de faire le point sur le fardeau des cancers professionnels au Québec et sur des stratégies de prévention actuelles ou potentielles. Les actes du Forum sont maintenant disponibles en ligne.
Certaines présentations PowerPoint des conférenciers peuvent également être consultées, ainsi que les fiches d'information sur les quatre substances qui ont fait l'objet de discussions soit :
-la silice,
-les fumées de soudage,
-les émissions de moteur diesel.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/agenda-sst/forum-cancerogenes

Intervention to diminish dehydration and kidney damage

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the potential to reduce kidney function damage during the implementation of a water, rest, shade (WRS) and efficiency intervention program among sugarcane workers.
Methods: A WRS intervention program adapted from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) coupled with an efficiency program began two months into the 5-month harvest. One of the two groups of workers studied was provided with portable water reservoirs, mobile shaded tents, and scheduled rest periods. Health data (anthropometric and questionnaires), blood, and urine were collected at baseline and at three subsequent times over the course of the harvest. Daily wet bulb globe temperatures (WBGT) were recorded.
Results: Across a working day there were changes in biomarkers indicating dehydration (urine osmolality and serum albumin) and reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Cross-shift eGFR decrease was present in both groups; -10.5 mL/min/1.73m2 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) -11.8– -9.1], but smaller for the intervention group after receiving the program. Decreased eGFR over the 5-month harvest was seen in both groups: in the one receiving the intervention -3.4 mL/min/1.73m2 (95% CI -5.5– -1.3) and in the other -5.3 (95% CI -7.9–-2.7). The decrease appeared to halt after the introduction of the intervention in the group receiving the program.
Conclusion: A WRS and efficiency intervention program was successfully introduced for workers in sugarcane fields and appears to reduce the impact of heat stress on acute and over-harvest biomarkers of kidney function. Further research is needed to determine whether biomarker changes predict reduced risk of chronic kidney disease in this type of work.

Source: Wegman DH, Apelqvist J, Bottai M, Ekström U, García-Trabanino R, Glaser J, Hogstedt C, Jakobsson K, Jarquín E, Lucas RAI, Weiss I, Wesseling C, Bodin T, WE Program Working Group. Scand J Work Environ Health

Molecular detection of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis and hematological and biochemical analyses in agricultural sprayers exposed to pesticides

A cross-sectional study in Punjab, Pakistan during 2014–2016
We determined the correlation between a pesticide exposure, physical health and susceptibility toward tuberculosis along with hematological indices and liver enzymes' alterations in sprayers exposed to pesticides. Molecular detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis was detected by targeting histone-like protein (hupB) gene. The WBC (white blood cells) and RBC (red blood cells) levels of male sprayers and non-sprayers were significantly different (P<0.05). In female spray workers, the WBC and neutrophils levels were significantly different as compared with non-sprayers. Overall, in both male and female pesticide-exposed sprayers, mean values of alanine amino transferase and aspartate amino transferase were higher as compared with unexposed workers. M. Tuberculosis were detected in 15% male sprayers and 36% female sprayers while, M. bovis was detected in 5% male sprayers and 10% female sprayers. A χ2-test indicated that there existed a significant different (P<0.05) between positive and negative M. tuberculosis and M. bovis in both male/female spray workers out of total. The susceptibility of pesticide-exposed sprayers to tuberculosis and alterations in hematology and liver enzymes is crucial for health. Toxic effects of pesticides may lead to a weak immune system and increased tuberculosis susceptibility.

Source: Riaz, S., Manzoor, F., Mahmood, N., & Shahid, S. (2017). Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Consultation sur l’approche proposée en matière de réglementation pour interdire l’amiante et les produits contenant de l’amiante

La dangerosité de l'amiante appelle à ce que toutes les mesures de prévention et de protection de la santé des travailleurs et de la population soient appliquées. Certains écueils, propres à la nature du minerai et la réglementation actuelle, sont à surmonter afin d'assurer un contrôle adéquat de l'exposition des Québécois à l'amiante. Ainsi, des études de l'Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) ont mis en évidence les difficultés sur le plan de la gestion sécuritaire de l'amiante dans le secteur de la transformation de ce minerai et dans celui de la construction (Adib et De Guire, 2016; Adib, 2013; De Guire et al., 2005).
Préoccupé par les effets de l'amiante sur la santé humaine ainsi que les enjeux associés à son contrôle, l'INSPQ salue l'initiative du projet de loi fédérale visant l'interdiction de l'amiante au Canada. Il émet toutefois des réserves et des recommandations sur quatre des exemptions prévues à la nouvelle approche réglementaire. Ces exemptions, qui pourraient exposer des travailleurs et la population générale, sont celles relatives à l'exploitation minière, le traitement des résidus miniers pour certaines applications, l'amiante contenu dans un produit antiparasitaire, l'amiante ou produits contenant de l'amiante présentés à des fins éducatives. L'INSPQ s'interroge enfin sur l'exemption générale sur les traces d'amiante d'origine naturelle qui nécessiterait certaines précisions.

Source: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/2266

L’infection à cytomégalovirus: où en est-on ?

Souvent bénigne, l'infection à cytomégalovirus (CMV) peut entraîner des séquelles importantes chez les immunodéprimés et en cas d'infection in utero. En milieu professionnel, les femmes enceintes travaillant en crèche ont un risque accru. Si l'intérêt d'un dépistage systématique fait débat, le strict respect des mesures d'hygiène et l'information des femmes enceintes constituent les seules recommandations qui font consensus.

Source: http://www.rst-sante-travail.fr/rst/pages-article/ArticleRST.html?ref=RST.TP%2028

Estimation of personal exposure to asbestos of brake repair workers

Exposure assessments are key tools to conduct epidemiological studies. Since 2010, 28 riveters from 18 brake repair shops with different characteristics and workloads were sampled for asbestos exposure in Bogotá, Colombia. Short-term personal samples collected during manipulation activities of brake products, and personal samples collected during non-manipulation activities were used to calculate 103 8-h TWA PCM-equivalent personal asbestos concentrations. The aims of this study are to identify exposure determinant variables associated with the 8-h TWA personal asbestos concentrations among brake mechanics, and propose different models to estimate potential asbestos exposure of brake mechanics in an 8-h work-shift. Longitudinal-based multivariate linear regression models were used to determine the association between personal asbestos concentrations in a work-shift with different variables related to work tasks and workload of the mechanics, and some characteristics of the shops. Monte Carlo simulations were used to estimate the 8-h TWA PCM-Eq personal asbestos concentration in work-shifts that had manipulations of brake products or cleaning activities of the manipulation area, using the results of the sampling campaigns. The simulations proposed could be applied for both current and retrospective studies to determine personal asbestos exposures of brake mechanics, without the need of sampling campaigns or historical data of air asbestos concentrations.

Source: Cely-García, M. F., Curriero, F. C., Sánchez-Silva, M., Breysse, P. N., Giraldo, M., Méndez, L., ... & Ramos-Bonilla, J. P. (20176). Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Workplace Strategies: Risk of Impairment from Cannabis

When workers are impaired on the job, whether by fatigue, use of drugs, or consumption of alcohol, it can have serious consequences.
This white paper discusses the implications associated with the use of cannabis for both therapeutic and recreational purposes. It includes information for employers, workers, and others interested in workplace health and safety, and offers guidance on how to:
•address the potential for impairment as part of a hazard assessment
•establish a concise policy and program on the use of any substance that can cause impairment
•determine the actions the workplace can take regarding impairment
•implement accommodation practices where necessary, including therapeutic needs and substance dependence
•create a supportive, healthy and safe workplace

Source: http://www.ccohs.ca/products/publications/cannabis/

Modelling of occupational exposure to inhalable nickel compounds

The aim of this study was to estimate average occupational exposure to inhalable nickel (Ni) using the German exposure database MEGA. This database contains 8052 personal measurements of Ni collected between 1990 and 2009 in adjunct with information on the measurement and workplace conditions. The median of all Ni concentrations was 9 μg/m3 and the 95th percentile was 460 μg/m3. We predicted geometric means (GMs) for welders and other occupations centered to 1999. Exposure to Ni in welders is strongly influenced by the welding process applied and the Ni content of the used welding materials. Welding with consumable electrodes of high Ni content (>30%) was associated with 10-fold higher concentrations compared with those with a low content (<5%). The highest exposure levels (GMs ≥20 μg/m3) were observed in gas metal and shielded metal arc welders using welding materials with high Ni content, in metal sprayers, grinders and forging-press operators, and in the manufacture of batteries and accumulators. The exposure profiles are useful for exposure assessment in epidemiologic studies as well as in industrial hygiene. Therefore, we recommend to collect additional exposure-specific information in addition to the job title in community-based studies when estimating the health risks of Ni exposure.

Source: Kendzia, B., Pesch, B., Koppisch, D., Van Gelder, R., Pitzke, K., Zschiesche, W., ... & Jöckel, K. H. (2017). Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Development of a source-exposure matrix for occupational exposure assessment of electromagnetic fields in the INTEROCC study

To estimate occupational exposures to electromagnetic fields (EMF) for the INTEROCC study, a database of source-based measurements extracted from published and unpublished literature resources had been previously constructed. The aim of the current work was to summarize these measurements into a source-exposure matrix (SEM), accounting for their quality and relevance. A novel methodology for combining available measurements was developed, based on order statistics and log-normal distribution characteristics. Arithmetic and geometric means, and estimates of variability and maximum exposure were calculated by EMF source, frequency band and dosimetry type. The mean estimates were weighted by our confidence in the pooled measurements. The SEM contains confidence-weighted mean and maximum estimates for 312 EMF exposure sources (from 0 Hz to 300 GHz). Operator position geometric mean electric field levels for radiofrequency (RF) sources ranged between 0.8 V/m (plasma etcher) and 320 V/m (RF sealer), while magnetic fields ranged from 0.02 A/m (speed radar) to 0.6 A/m (microwave heating). For extremely low frequency sources, electric fields ranged between 0.2 V/m (electric forklift) and 11,700 V/m (high-voltage transmission line-hotsticks), whereas magnetic fields ranged between 0.14 μT (visual display terminals) and 17 μT (tungsten inert gas welding). The methodology developed allowed the construction of the first EMF–SEM and may be used to summarize similar exposure data for other physical or chemical agents.

Source: Vila, J., Bowman, J. D., Figuerola, J., Moriña, D., Kincl, L., Richardson, L., & Cardis, E. (2017). Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Exposures to nanoparticles and fibers during injection molding and recycling of carbon nanotube reinforced polycarbonate composites

In this study, the characteristics of airborne particles generated during injection molding and grinding processes of carbon nanotube reinforced polycarbonate composites (CNT-PC) were investigated. Particle number concentration, size distribution, and morphology of particles emitted from the processes were determined using real-time particle sizers and transmission electron microscopy. The air samples near the operator's breathing zone were collected on filters and analyzed using scanning electron microscope for particle morphology and respirable fiber count. Processing and grinding during recycling of CNT-PC released airborne nanoparticles (NPs) with a geometric mean (GM) particle concentration from 4.7 × 103 to 1.7 × 106 particles/cm3. The ratios of the GM particle concentration measured during the injection molding process with exhaust ventilation relative to background were up to 1.3 (loading), 1.9 (melting), and 1.4 (molding), and 101.4 for grinding process without exhaust ventilation, suggesting substantial NP exposures during these processes. The estimated mass concentration was in the range of 1.6–95.2 μg/m3. Diverse particle morphologies, including NPs, NP agglomerates, particles with embedded or protruding CNTs and fibers, were observed. No free CNTs were found during any of the investigated processes. The breathing zone respirable fiber concentration during the grinding process ranged from non-detectable to 0.13 fiber/cm3. No evidence was found that the emissions were affected by the number of recycling cycles. Institution of exposure controls is recommended during these processes to limit exposures to airborne NPs and CNT-containing fibers.

Source: Boonruksa, P., Bello, D., Zhang, J., Isaacs, J. A., Mead, J. L., & Woskie, S. R. (20176). Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Faisabilité d’accroître la déclaration obligatoire des maladies liées à une exposition à l’amiante par les médecins des hôpitaux

L'amiantose et le mésothéliome sont des maladies à déclaration obligatoire (MADO) par les médecins du Québec. Or, une faible proportion d'entre eux s'acquitte de cette obligation. Si tous les médecins déclaraient leurs cas, la base de données dans laquelle on enregistre l'information sur les personnes atteintes de MADO, le système MADO-Chimique, serait plus complète et pourrait servir à des fins de surveillance des maladies reliées à l'amiante. Un projet pilote a été réalisé pour stimuler la déclaration de l'amiantose et du mésothéliome et en explorer la faisabilité.

Source: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/2262

Fentanyl Exposure Risks for Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Workers

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic drug that is similar to morphine and heroin, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl and its analogs, such as carfentanil, can pose a potential hazard to law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and firefighters who could come into contact with these drugs through the course of their work day. While there are important questions about the risks of different types of exposures (and resultant health effects) that might occur during law enforcement and emergency response activities, workers involved in these types of activities leading to potential exposures should take prudent precautions. NIOSH provides interim recommendations for routine law enforcement activities following an arrest or execution of a search warrant—such as evidence collection—that may lead to potential exposures to fentanyl or related compounds.

Source: https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2017/06/22/fentanyl/

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