HSE warns vehicle body-shop workers about asthma risks
The HSE is encouraging body-shop workers to do more to protect themselves after new research suggests that many are putting themselves at risk of developing occupational asthma.
A report by the HSE identified that vehicle spray painters are 80 times more likely to develop occupational asthma than the average worker in the UK because they fail to take the correct precautions.
Researchers visited 30 body shops and carried out telephone surveys with 500 more and discovered that some sprayers and managers remain unaware of the link between breathing in isocyanates contained within the invisible spray mist, and developing occupational asthma.€ﾨ €ﾨAlmost one in five body shop managers didn’t know their booth clearance times. This puts workers at risk of re-entering booths too soon, making them more vulnerable to breathing in isocyanates.
The survey also found that 85 percent of sprayers wear air-fed breathing apparatus, but many put themselves at risk by lifting their visors to check the finish before the paint is dry.
HSE’s Louise Rice said: “We’re encouraged to see that body shop managers and sprayers are generally much more aware of the risks of isocyanates and what they need to do to protect themselves, but it is worrying that the message is still not getting through to all of them.€ﾨ €ﾨ“Occupational asthma destroys careers and lives. We appreciate that sprayers work to tight deadlines and time pressures, but they should not be gambling with their health. We will use this research to ensure we’re working with industry in the most effective way to help reduce the risk to workers.”
The report can be viewed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr802.pdf
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