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Occupational Exposure Monitoring for U-POL

Car cleaning

The Client

U-POL, located in Northamptonshire, is a world leader in automotive refinishing products, specialising in high-quality polyester body fillers, polyurethane coatings, aerosols, adhesives, and paint-related products.

The Challenge

Within the coatings area of the business, U-POL manufacture and supply a wide range of primers, clear coats, thinners, hardeners, and speciality coatings primarily for the automotive refinish market. U-POL are ISO 9001 certified, and have clear policies around ethical conduct, safety, and environmental management.

The Solution

To help the company uphold its high standards around ethical practice, safety, and environmental management we carry out regular occupational hygiene monitoring throughout the entire facility. This determines the effectiveness of the current control measures in place, provides quantitative exposure data for formal risk assessments, and demonstrates whether employee exposure is within the prescribed legal limits. This is required by Regulation 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, 2002 (as amended).

The purpose of this particular survey was to assess employees’ inhalation exposure to total inhalable dust and the top five prevalent volatile organic compounds (VOCs) while carrying out normal manufacturing work activities, in the B block production area. This was achieved by taking five personal samples for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and three personal samples for inhalable dust. The equipment used for the sampling is as follows:

  • Total Dust/Fume/Particulate – Personal sampling pump with IOM sampling head containing 25mm Ø MCE filter. Pump flow rate 2.0 l.min-1. Gravimetric determination of dust/fume/particulate.
  • Top 5 Prevalent VOC Compounds – Personal sampling pump, fitted with low flow controller and sorbent tube holder, connected to an SKC 226-01 charcoal sorbent tube. Pump flow rate 100.0 ml.min- 1. Analysis by solvent desorption and Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionisation Detector. (GC-FID).

Personal monitoring samples were taken from within a given employee’s ‘breathing zone’ as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in their publication HSG173, ‘Monitoring Strategies for Toxic substances’. The appropriate sampling heads were attached to the collar of each employee’s overalls throughout the survey.

Tony Smedley was the occupational hygienist attending site to carry out this service. Tony has many years’ experience and holds the following qualifications:

  • BOHS W201 Basic Principles in Occupational Hygiene – understanding the broad principles in occupational hygiene as the basis for anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards that can be encountered in the workplace.
  • BOHS W501 Measurement of Hazardous Substances – understanding the techniques for assessing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace and with an understanding of how exposure information can be used to assess risk.
  • NEBOSH Certificate in Safety & Health
  • City & Guilds (C&G) Environmental Engineers Certificate

The Results

Demonstrating whether employee exposure is within the prescribed legal limits helps to avoid fines and prosecutions – in accordance with Regulation 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, 2002. With our assistant U-POL were able to uphold a high standard of ethical practice, health and safety, and environmental management.