Introduction Working in areas where benzene (human carcinogen) is contaminated in the environment is considered a risky operation. The previous research at gasoline stations found that refuelling workers had occupational exposure to benzene. However, quantitative exposure assessment to benzene has been mostly pointed for cancer. If look at the level of opportunity to be exposed to benzene, there need to be considered other factors, such as compliance with work instructions, PPE use, equipment standards and OHSAS18001 is a good guideline on risk assessment accounting these principles. This study aimed to quantify the risk level using the OHSAS 18001 model of risk assessment in fueling and cashier workers and the located different stations of urban, sub-urban and rural area.
Methods A study was conducted at gasoline stations in different zones of Khon Kaen province, Thailand. There were 237 refuelling workers and 25 cashier workers included into this study for data collection via subject interviews using a structural questionnaire, observations and information of exposure levels of benzene. Risk assessment matrix from applied OHSAS18001 (opportunity x severity) was suitable performed.
Results Majority of refuelling and cashier workers were at moderate exposure to benzene (64.98% and 72.00%), and most areas found that to the moderate exposure was in the sub-urban zone (75.74%), followed by urban (57.14%), and rural zone (51.02%). The health risk of fueling and cashier workers on benzene exposure was rising to be the high level. Considering location of gasoline, the high risk level was predominantly found in sub-urban area.
Conclusions This applied OHSAS18001 matrix showed that workers are at high risk of exposure to benzene at gasoline station which confirms the previous report of the highest concentration of benzene in sub-urban area. There should be the preventive measure among these workers following risk levels and occupational risk assessment should be included.
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