Objectives Occupational exposure to isocyanates has been associated with the development of occupational asthma. This study serves as baseline measurement within an intervention study, aimed at 1) conducting a detailed exposure assessment and determine exposure determinants, 2) providing input for the development of a broad intervention strategy, and 3) evaluating the effectiveness of respiratory protection.
Methods Personal task-based inhalation samples for mixing, spraying and gun cleaning were collected among 37 workers, divided over eighteen companies. Relevant information regarding potential exposure determinants and behavioural and organisational factors was obtained by performing a walk through survey and a questionnaire. Mixed effect regression models were used to identify associations between exposure and work practices, behavioural factors (e.g. knowledge, awareness), and organisational factors (e.g. support towards OSH-programs). The level of respiratory protection during workplace activities was assessed among 22 workers.
Results Spray painting results in the highest exposure levels compared (47 µg/m3 NCO) to mixing and gun cleaning (respectively 0.15 µg/m3 NCO and 0.7 µg/m3 NCO). Worker orientation and spray location seem to be indicative for exposure. A full overview of our analyses and a first outline of the intervention strategy will be presented during the conference. The use of respirators seems task-dependent, where first analyses seem to indicate that the protection factor is above 95%.
Discussion Although we found decreased exposure levels compared to earlier studies, we still see possibilities for interventions to further decrease exposure. For instance through the organisation of work, the frequency of (proper) use of control measures, and further improvements in the use of respirators. The results of our exposure assessment will be used to perform health impact assessment, presented in another abstract.
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