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UNIT B ELEMENT 3

Question No 2 of Jan 2006. (a) The term Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) is defined in the Control of Substance hazardous to Health (COSHH) Amendment Regulations 2004. Explain what this term means in practice. (3) These amendment Regulations brought some significant changes to be the COSHH Regulations; introducing a single new workplace exposure limit for substances hazardous to health which replaces occupational exposure standards and maximum exposure limits; and introducing requirements to observe principles of good practice for the control of exposure to substances hazardous to health set out in Schedule 2A, to ensure that workplace exposure limits are not exceeded, and to ensure in respect of carcinogens and asthmagens that exposure is reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. Keeping abreast of new legislation is a requirement for any heathland safety practitioner and this question provided an opportunity for the candidates to demonstrate this. A number of candidates correctly identified that the term Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) as maximum concentration of an airborne substance, averaged over a reference period, to which employees may be exposed by inhalation. A surprising number of candidates thought that it referred to the time exposed, rather that the concentration of hazardous substance in the air. Better responses went on to explain that concentrations are usually expressed in mg/m3 or ppm; that the WEL is set at a level vbelow which there is evidence of no adverse effect. (b) Use the data below to calculate the 8 hour TWA exposure to flour dust for a bakery operative. Your answer should include detailed working to show your understanding of how the exposure is determined. (7) WORKING PERIOD 8.00 10.30 10.45-12.45 12.45-13.45 13.45-15.45 15.45-16.15 TASKS UNDERTAKEN BY BAKERY OPERATIVE Weighing ingredients Charging the mixers Lunch Cleaning Equipment Assisting maintenance Staff EXPOSURE TO FLOUR DUST (mg/m3) 20 30 25 0 (assumed)

There were many reasonable responses to the second part of this question which stated that each time period and exposure need to be multiplied together, then added,

then divided by 8 and included the time of zero exposure in the workings of the calculation producing the correct 8 hour TWA of 20 mg/m3. Numerically: (20 x 2.5) + (30 x 2) + (25 x 2) + (0 x 0.5) + (0 x 1)/8 ( (20 x 2.5)+ (30 x 2) + (25 x 2) + (0 x 0.5) )/8 =(50 + 60 + 50 + 0 + 0)/8 =160/8 =20 mg/m3 Question No 3 of Jan 2007 An airborne contaminant has a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) of 40 ppm, 8 hour time-weighted average (TWA). Despite the introduction of a range of engineering controls the airborne concentration of this contaminant in a workshop has been measured and has been found to be 160 ppm, 8 hour TWA. The local manager has chosen a piece of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) with an assigned protection factor (APF) of 40 to be worn by all employees in the contaminated area. (a) Using the data above explain how you determine if the manager has made an appropriate choice of RPE. (4) It was unfortunate that for part (a) of the question many candidates did not appear to understand the term assigned protection factor (APF). They were not able to do the calculation required that APF is the concentration of contaminant in the air divided by the maximum allowed concentration in the face piece. In the scenario described, the maximum concentration in the face piece to which an employee should be exposed would be the WEL -40ppm. Therefore the minimum APF required would be 160/40 = 4. The actual APF is ten times the minimum and consequently the respiratory protective equipment chosen would have a large safety factor and should offer a good level of protection. (b) Suggest other factors that should be taken into account when selecting appropriate RPE. (6) In contrast, answers to the second part of the question were to a better standard with most candidates able to suggest a range of factors including the nature of the dust or vapour involved; the length of time that employees would need to wear the

equipment and the type of work to be carried out taking into account its physical nature, the degree of movement required and the restrictions of the working space; the compatibility of the respiratory protective equipment with other personal protective equipment; the ease with which it can be put on and maintained; its manufacture to an appropriate standard and importantly the need to consult fully with the workforce on the selection of the equipment. Question No 8 of Jan 2007. Stonemasons are exposed to irritant limestone dust in the course of their work. Limestone dust has been assigned a workplace exposure limit (WEL) under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002. (a) Explain the term Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) in this context. (3).

For part (a) candidates were expected to explain that in the context of the scenario, the work place exposure limit (WEL) would be the maximum concentration of limestone dust which employees might be exposed by inhalation. The concentration is measured in mg/m3, and is averaged over a specific period of time, either long term over a period of eight hours intended to control effects by restricting the total intake by inhalation over one or more work shifts, or short term, usually fifteen minutes, to control effects that may be seen after a brief exposure. For the control of exposure to limestone dust to be considered adequate under COSHH, the WEL should not be exceeded and principles of good hygiene practice should be followed. There were few candidates who could give an adequate explanation of a WEL. (b) Stonemasons work involves both cutting and finishing of limestone. Explain the factors to be considered when undertaking a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks from their exposure to limestone dust. (11). In undertaking an assessment of the risks faced by stonemasons from exposure to the dust the factors to be considered include the health effects of limestone dust such as irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, the number of persons exposed, the level and duration of their exposure and the susceptibility of individuals; the routes of entry of the dust such as through inhalation or ingestion; the particle size of the dust which will determine how far into the body and the dust may pass; the way in which the work is carried out whether by hand or power tool; the level and effectiveness of existing control measures and results from the monitoring of airborne contaminants and/or health surveillance. (c) Given that stonemasons are required to work both in a workshop and out on site, suggest a range of control measures that would be suitable in each of these situations. (6)

As for suitable control measures, for operations carried out in the workshop, the use of local exhaust ventilation would be require3d but for site work, damping down would be the measure that would have to be used. Controls to be used in both situations include the use of cutting tools with in-built extraction or a damping spray; the provision and use of respiratory protective equipment which should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of use, compatible with other personal protective equipment and suitable for use during work at height; and provision of eye and hearing protection, gloves and overalls. This was not a popular question and was answered by those who attempted it with varying degrees of success. Many provided generic answers rather than ones which related directly to the scenario described. Question No 8 of Jan 2008. Methanol (an organic solvent) is being used in the production of a specialist coating. An operatives measurement of exposure to the methanol varies throughout his 8 hour working day. The results of measurement of his exposure are as follows: Task undertaken by operative Measuring out and adding methanol Adding other components to the mix Supervision of mixing and decanting Clean down of equipment using solvents Duration of Task 15 minutes 1 hour 2 hours 2 hours Exposure to Methanol (ppm). 280 90 150 180

Assume that exposure is zero at all other times. (a) Calculate the 8 our Time-Weighted Average (TWA) exposure to methanol for the operative. Your answer should include detailed working to show you understand how the exposure is determined. (8) For part (a) of the question the 8 hour Time-Weighted Average (TWA) to methanol for the operative would be determined by the following calculation. ((280 x 0.25) + (90 x 1) + (150 x 2) + (170 x 2) + (0 x 2.75))/8 giving a TWA of 100 ppm.

It was essential that candidates clearly showed the various steps involved in making this calculation in order to achieve maximum marks available. Those that made simple arithmetical but used the correct method of calculation still received some credit. (b) Information relating to methanol in EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits is as follows: Substance CAS Number Workplace Exposure Limit Comments Long-term Short-term exposure limit exposure (8 hour TWA limit (15 limit reference minute period) reference period) ppm Mg/m3 ppm Mg/m3 200 266 250 333 Sk R11, 23/24/25, 39/23/24/25

Methanol

67-56-1

Using your results from part (a), the original exposure information in Table 1 AND by selecting the relevant data from Table 2, explain what actions might be required by the employer in order to comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. (8). In answering part (b), candidates, using their answers to part (a) and the information given in Table 2, were expected to explain that the long term exposure did not exceed the workplace exposure limit (WEL) and consequently the existing control measures could continue to be applied and monitored on a regular basis. The short term exposure during measuring out and adding the methanol does exceed the WEL by 30 ppm and consequently the employer would need to introduce further control measures for these operations such as substituting a less hazardous solvent for the methanol; introducing automation for the dispensing and charging of the solvent; installing local exhaust ventilation or improving the standard of that already fitted; providing the operative with respiratory protective equipment to reduce inhalation and ensuring that they wore gloves to protect from splashes since methanol could be absorbed through the skin. Additionally, in order to comply with the COSHH Regulations there may be a need to carry out a measurement of the exposure to other components involved in the process and to compare the results with the WELs quoted in EG40, investigating any synergistic or addictive effects. (c) Describe how the personal exposure of the operative to methanol can be measured. (4)

The personal exposure of the operative to methanol can be measured by the use of a sample tube packed with sorbent material fixed by means of a clip-on collar in the breathing zone. A known volume of air would be drawn across the tube by means of a pump and the methanol absorbed onto the sorbent material. The methanol could then be desorbed in a laboratory by the use of thermal or solvent desorption and analysed using gas chromatography. A number of samples would have to be taken. This was not a popular question but there were some good answers produced, at least for parts (a) and (b). Part (c), however, was poorly answered with very few candidates providing an acceptable description of how the measurement of personal exposure might be carried out. There was some confusion apparent between personal monitoring and grab sampling and the methods suggested ranged from the use of stain tubes to film badges. This lack of technical knowledge is a concern. Question NO 2 of Jan 2006. (a) The term workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) is defined in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Amendment Regulations 2004. Explain what the term means in place. (3). These amendment Regulations brought some significant changes to the COSHH Regulations; introducing a single new workplace exposure limit for substances hazardous to health which replaces occupational exposure standards and maximum exposure limits; and introducing requirements to observe principles of good practice for the control of exposure to substances hazardous to health set out in Schedule 2A, to ensure that workplace exposure limits are not exceeded, and to ensure in respect of carcinogens and asthmagens that exposure standards and maximum exposure limits; and introducing requirements to observe principles of good practice for the control of exposure to substances hazardous to health set out in Schedule 2A, to ensure that workplace exposure limits are not exceeded, and to ensure respect of carcinogens and asthmagens that exposure is reduced to as low as level as is reasonably practicable. Keeping abreast of new legislation is a requirement for any health and safety practitioner and this question provided an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate this. A number of candidates correctly identified that the term Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) as the maximum concentration of an airborne substance, averaged over a reference period, to which employees may be exposed by inhalation. A surprising number of candidates thought that it referred to the time exposed, rather than the concentrations are usually expressed in mg/m3 or ppm; that the WEL is set at level below which there is evidence of no adverse effect.

(b) Use the data below to calculate the 8 hour TWA exposure to flour dust for a bakery operative. Your answer should include detailed working to show your understanding of how the exposure is determined. Working period (Total shift Time = 8 hours) 8.00 -10.30 10.45 12.45 12.45 13.45 13.45 15.45 15.45 16.15 Tasks undertaken by bakery operative Weighing ingredients Charging the mixers Lunch Cleaning Equipment Assisting maintenance staff Exposure to Flour dust (mg/m3) 20 30 25 0 (assumed)

Assume that exposure is zero during break times. There were many reasonable responses to the second part of the question which stated that each time period and exposure need to be multiplied together, then added, then divided by 8 and included the time of zero exposure in the workings of the calculation producing the correct 8 hour TWA of 20 mg/m3. Or numerically: (20 x 2.5) + (30 x 2) + (25 x 2) + (0 x 0.5) + (0 x 1)/8 ((20 x 2.5) + (30 x 2) + (25 x 2) + (0 x 1.5))/8 = (50 x 60 + 50 + 0 + + 0)/8 = 160/8 = 20 mg/m3 Question No 4 of January 2009. (a) Use the data below to calculate the 8 hour Time-Weighted Average (TWA) exposure to flour dust for a bakery operative. Your answer should include detailed working to show your understanding of how the exposure is determined. (7) Working period (Total shift Time = 8 hours) 08.00 -10.30 10.30 10.45 10.45 12.45 12.45 13.45 13.45 15.45 Tasks undertaken by bakery operative Weighing ingredients Break Charging the mixers Lunch Cleaning Equipment Exposure to Flour dust (mg/m3) 14 10 2.5

15.45 16.00

Assisting maintenance staff

0 (assumed)

Assuming that exposure is zero during break times and lunch time. Also assume that a legally enforceable Exposure Limit (8 hours TWA) of 10 mg/m3 is applicable to flour dust. TWA = (14 x 2.5) + (0.25 x 0) + (10 x 2) + (1 x 0) + (0 x 0.25) + (2.5 x 2) + /8 = (35 + 20 + 5) / 8 = 60/8 = 7.5 mg/m3 For part (b), a similar calculation would have shown an exposure of 11.25 mg/m3 viz: ((10 x 9) + (0 + 1)) = 90 /8 = 11.25 mg/m3. The change in the mode of working has increased the individuals exposure so it is now more than the legal exposure limit. The employer is no longer adequately controlling exposure and must introduce additional controls. (b) The bakery changes the working patterns to the extent that the operative now only charges the mixer. In addition, shift times have been altered to a 10 hour shift, which includes a 1 hour lunch break where the exposure is assumed to be zero. Using the relevant data above, recalculate equivalent 8 hour TWA exposure in their new role AND comment on the legal implications of this change. (3)

While the first part of the question was well answered, many candidates became confused with the calculations required for the second part and arrived at a wrong result. They were then not in a position to comment on the legal implications of the change in the working pattern.

Question No 6 of Jan 2010. (a) Outline what is meant by the term biological monitoring AND give examples where such monitoring may be appropriate. (6). Biological monitoring is concerned with the measurement or assessment of hazardous substances or their metabolites in tissues, secretions, excreta or expired air. It is a complementary technique to air monitoring or sampling and can be used to determine if existing controls are adequate; when information is required on the accumulated dose in a target organ: when there is a

specified guidance value against which a comparison might be made (such as EH 40); when there is significant absorption by non-respiratory routes; in circumstances when there is significant reliance on personal protective equipment and where the monitoring is required by law. While many candidates were able to give a good outline of term biological monitoring there were able to give examples of where it might be appropriate. (b) Outline the practical difficulties that an employer must overcome when introducing a programme of biological monitoring. (4) Better answers were provided for part (B) concerning the practical difficulties and employer should take into account when introducing a pragramme of biological monitoring. Apart from the monitoring required by statute, it would normally be conducted on a voluntary basis. Consequently the informed consent of those involved would have to be obtained and their concerns overcome. Other difficulties include the availability of suitable facilities or a location to carry out the monitoring especially if this has to be done at the end of the shift; the availability of specialists to carry out the monitoring for example if blood samples are to be taken; maintaining the integrity of samples to avoid cross contamination and ensuring there was no possibility of cross infection; maintaining the confidentiality of the individual; the cost involved in carrying out the exercise; and finally the fact that there are few guidance values available for comparison a point that was absent in many answers. Question No 4 of July 2010 (a) Use the data below to calculate the 8 hour Time-Weighted Average (TWA) exposure to a solvent for a factory worker. Your answer should include the detail of calculation of show your understanding of how the exposure is determined. (7). Working period (total shift time = 8 hours)
08.00 10.30 10.30 10.45 10.45 12.45 12.45 13.45 13.45 15. 15.45 16.00

Task undertaken by worker

Exposure to solvent (ppm).


140 0 100 0 25 0

Weighing ingredients Break Charging the mixers Lunch 45 Cleaning equipment Assisting maintenance staff

Assuming that esposure is zero during all other times. Also assume tht a legally enforceable Exposure limit (8 hours TWA) of 100 ppm is applicable to the solvent. Answers to the first part of the question should have shown how the 8 our TWA exposure to the solvent for the worker could be calculated firstly by multiplying together each time period and exposure, then adding the results of calculations together and finally dividing by eight. This would give an answer of 75 ppm. Numerically, this could be expressed as: TWA = (2.5 x 140) + (0.25 x 0) + (2 x 100) x (2 x 25) + (0.25 x 0)/8 = (350 + 0 + 200 + 50 + 0)/8 = 600/8 = 75 ppm. Since the answer is below the legally enforceable WEL i.e. 100 ppm. (b) The factory decides to change the working patterns so that each worker does a single job for a 12 hour shift. A factory worker is assigned the job of charging the mixers for his 12 hours shift. Within the shift he is allowed two 45 minute breaks where the exposure is assumed to be zero. Using the relevant data above, recalculate the equivalent 8 hour TWA exposure in the workers new role AND outline the legal implications of this change. (3) TWA = ((100 x 10.5) + (0 x 1.5))/8 = 1050/8 = 131.25 ppm. The change in the mode of working has increased the individuals exposure so it is now more than the legal exposure limit and accordingly the employer is no longer adequately controlling exposure and must introduce additional controls. While most cases, the calculations for the first part of the question were carried out correctly, for part (b) errors were made, most commonly in dividing the total exposure by the number of hours worked rather than by

8. As a result, the candidates concerned were unable to arrive at the correct implications of the new work pattern.

Question No 8 of July 2010. An airborne contaminant has an Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) of 10 ppm 8 hour time-weighted average (TWA). Engineering controls have been introduced but airborne concentration of the contaminant in a workshop has been measured at 180 ppm, 8 hour TWA. The occupational hygienist has selected a piece of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) with an assigned protection factor (APF) of 20, which is to be worn temporarily by all workers in the contaminated area.
(a) Using the data above outline how the hygienist could have calculated the APF AND whether the hygienist made an appropriate selection. (4).

This was not a popular question. But those who chose to answer it generally did well. Candidates should have outlined that the assigned protection factor (APF) on an item of respiratory protective equipment is the concentration of contaminant in the air of respiratory protective equipment is the concentration of contaminant in the air divided by the concentration in the face piece. In the scenario described, the maximum occupational exposure limit (OEL) 10 ppm. Therefore the minimum APF required would be 180/20 = 9 ppm which is within the OEL of 10 ppm. The hygienist has therefore made an appropriate selection though respiratory protective equipment with a higher APF might be chosen to provide an increased factor of safety. (b) Outline other factor that should be taken into account when selecting appropriate RPE. (6). For the second part of the question, candidates were expected to outline other factors that should be taken into account in the selection of respiratory protective equipment (RPE). They should have referred to the nature of the hazard (e.g. dust or vapour) involved; the comfort of the RPE where consideration would have to be given to the length of time that workers would need to wear the equipment and the type of work to be carried out taking into account its physical nature, the degree of movement required and the restrictions of the working space; the facial characteristics of the wearer (e.g. scars) which might influence fit and whether fit

testing might be required; the compatibility of the RPE with other personal protective equipment; durability and the ease with which it can be put on and maintained; its manufacture to an appropriate standard and importantly the need to consult fully with the workers and obtain their acceptance of the proposed selection. Cost would also be a factor.
(c) When RPE is used it may not provide the level of protection stated by the manufacturer. Outline the possible reasons for this . (10) There a number of reasons why RPE may not provide the level of protection stated by the manufacturer. The initial selection of the equipment may have been incorrect following an inadequate assessment of the level and type of contamination to be countered together with the work rate of the workers concerned and the length of time that the equipment would have to be worn. Other reasons include a poor air flow or a reduction in battery power not often mentioned; the fitting of incorrect cartridges or a failure to replace them before saturation which may be exacerbated by other contaminants which would decrease the expected saturation time; equipment incorrectly fitted or incompatible with other personal protective equipment being worn; inadequate training in its use and particularly in the care that should be taken in its removal; poor maintenance and inadequate storage resulting in the face piece being left exposed; damage occurring during use and inadequate monitoring and supervision to ensure the equipment was always used when required and the fact that the equipment might not have been manufactured to the appropriate standards.