As Occupational Hygienists we’ve been involved in air monitoring for hazardous substances for over 20 years and we’ve visited a vast array of business in that time. We’ve monitored construction dust such as wood and crystalline silica from cutting blocks and bricks, we’ve visited artists foundries and workshops and monitored for patination compounds, we’ve been in hospitals and inside the tubes of nuclear missile launch equipment (although not when it was in use!).
During all of these visits, we attempt to visualise the path of the emissions through our mind’s eye. We use our knowledge of the substance, for example, we might be working in aerospace and know that the substance in use is heavier than air and visualise a ‘dry ice’ moving away from the point of use and collecting at low (sink) points. We could be working with welders and be running a training and awareness session on COSHH and welding fume and ask them to visualise the hot plume of metal vapours rising towards them – particularly in the case of stainless steel where just a small amount of highly toxic hexavalent chromium will be present.
However, you only really do this if you have the scientific knowledge which precedes it, for this reason, we thought that the image below was interesting. It comes from a Channel 4 Despatches programme on car emissions and it perhaps goes some way to explaining what we are talking about when we ask others to visualise the emissions they can’t see.
Further, could it suggest why so many of our children are now suffering from asthma and similar conditions in their early lives?
If you have a substance in your workplace perhaps we could work with you to give your staff the knowledge and understanding to take small but significant steps to protect themselves from unseen dangers? We can use air monitoring, toolbox talk sessions and even our own thermal imaging camera to capture what can’t be seen and convince people of the sense in making changes to the way in which they work.
With health issues being the hidden iceberg of risk and claims for occupational illness now soaring it might be the right time to consider this…
Support offered, audiometry, spirometry (lung function), toolbox talks, air monitoring (occupational hygiene). Contact us if you need more information and would like to talk through your needs.