Diesel and welding fumes – ‘cancer-causing’ declarations by IARC and their impact on exposure standards
Principal Consultant, Giant Hygiene Services | School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University
Gregor Riese has over 25 years experience in the waste management and material recycling industry and completed his Master of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology with Edith Cowan University in 2018. Gregor has been part of a team at Edith Cowan University working on a major Commonwealth government project looking at complex mixtures and compliance with GHS requirements. These reviews included examining over 500 recent papers on the health effects of diesel emissions and welding fumes, both of which have been declared "known carcinogens" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared diesel engine emissions and welding fumes Category 1 carcinogens in 2012 and 2017 respectively. Many exposure standards currently in use are based more on acute effects (eg metal fume fever) rather than long-term carcinogenic effects. Exposure standards based on acute health-effects may not be protective in relation to long-term chronic exposure and risk of cancer. These complex mixtures may also contain chemical substances such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in diesel emissions, or heavy metals of Ni, Mn, Cr and Zn in welding fumes, that each have their own exposure standards.
There is a relative scarcity of exposure standards internationally in relation to diesel engine emissions, compared to welding fumes, despite the 2012 IARC declaration. This reflects the rapid evolution of diesel engines and the increasing use of biodiesel fuels which power them. A number of international jurisdictions have seen fit not to use historical epidemiological data for diesel exposure because they represent old technology and do not reflect current exposures.
This paper examines what weight should be placed on a “known carcinogen” declaration by IARC in establishing and/or reviewing exposure standards for complex mixtures.
WHS in the Digitalized World – New Opportunities with Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Principal Consultant EHS Risk & Compliance | Jacobs Engineering
Thomas Mitchell is a career Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) leader with extensive executive level experience and demonstrated success servicing multi-national organisations. He has held academic positions of Lecturer and Senior Research Officer with University of Ballarat (Victorian Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) generalising in Safety Engineering, Safety in Design, Industrial Hygiene and Ergonomics and specialising in Risk Management, Compliance and Management Systems, Training and Education.
Thomas has worked across government, business and industry sectors providing consultancy, training and auditing services.
Thomas has also undertaken commissioned EHS research projects for the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Coal Industry Research Program, Mining and Quarrying Association and WorkCover equivalent programs in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector collaborate to design our built environments and in doing so, carry responsibilities to anticipate, recognise, evaluate, communicate and control hazards even before soil is broken on a building or infrastructure project. In Australia, the WHS Act (S.22) imposes duties on designers to ensure that structures are designed to be without risks to health and safety of persons. Designers’ responsibilities to maintain and transfer WHS risk information are also prescribed. Constructors of structures (including to install, commission and demolish) also have WHS duties to deliver their respective function associate with a structure, so it is without risks to health and safety of persons (S.26). The emergence of Safety in Design (SiD) principles have connected WHS professions with the AEC sector to develop processes for investigation, evaluation and communication of WHS risks associated with built environment design, constructability and operability. However, with no standardised mechanism to transfer SiD information progressively from Designer to Constructor and to the Operator, often the chain of custody may be weakened or broken and critical WHS risk treatment information may be lost over time. As SiD was becoming regular practice in the AEC sector, digital asset design management processes were gaining momentum (Engineers Australia, 2005). Since, Alomari (2012) suggested improvements in safety performance and Ganah (2015) improvements in safety communication attributed to the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the construction industry. Towards 2020 all states and territories will have a digital engineering strategy following BIM principles. It is inevitable that occupational hygienists and other WHS professions will have increasing involvement with digital asset design/engineering, with many seeking new opportunities to adapt BIM to improve environmental, health and safety management.
Time to ReCalibrate: Incorporating Human Factors in Respirator Selection
Co-ordinator of the Occupational Hygiene Program | The University of Wollongong
Jane is a Certified Occupational Hygienist, Certified Industrial Hygienist and Fellow of the AIOH. She had over 25 years’ experience in Corporate roles in heavy industry before moving into teaching and research at the University of Wollongong; where she is Co-ordinator of the Occupational Hygiene Program. She is a member of the AIOH PD&E committee, the Respiratory Protection Fit Testing Steering Committee and is the AIOH representative on the Australian Occupational Health and Safety Accreditation Board.
She is the Safety Institute of Australia representative on SF 10 Australian Standards Committee publishing “AS/NZS 1715 Selection, Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protective Equipment”. Jane’s research interests are in Protecting Worker Health from Chemical and Physical Hazards, and her major grants and research have been in evaluating the Efficacy of Respiratory protection. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong in the Faculty of Medicine.
Respiratory Protection is the last line of defense in control of exposures to hazardous substances, yet often the only viable choice in the workplace. Standards Australia has advised their intention to adopt the ISO 16976 suite of standards with their next revision; incorporating Human Factors such as anthropology and ergonomics as well as the individual’s physiological response to the use of respirator which will have ramifications for every workplace using respiratory protection.
Smelter workers wore their normal negative pressure respirators and performed their usual work duties across their 12hr shifts whilst their breathing rates, heart rate and core temperature was monitored for comparison with the recommended limits in ISO/TS 16976-1.
This research was enabled by the recent development and validation of new technology to measure breathing rates through a respirator whilst workers perform normal work activities.
Not surprisingly, it was found that the higher the work rate experienced, the more pronounced the effects of RPD use were; and the more distinct the changes in breathing pattern became. The physiological effects and perceived burden of use were also more pronounced.
The results provide the first real time analysis of breathing rates of negative pressure RPD wearers performing normal duties in a smelter workplace. Interestingly, they were not always consistent with those specified in ISO standards that had been primarily determined from laboratory tests.
Whilst laboratory tests give an indication of the use of respiratory protection, they are no substitute for real time in-workplace evaluation. Studies which use simulated activities and non-industry cohorts may not be representative of the workplace use of Respiratory Protection.
Wearers of Respirators at higher work rates are under additional strain, and the individual’s physiological capacity, as well as the work rates and environmental conditions should be considered in respirator selection.
Concurrent Session 2 - ReSynergise
Non Communicable Disease prevalence among a cohort of mine workers in Mongolia
MSc, MAIOH, COH.
Andy McCarthy, MSc, MAIOH, COH is an AIOH Full Member and Certified Occupational Hygienist and a member of the MNAOH with over 10 years experience in the field. Andy holds a Graduate Certificate Occupational Hygiene (UoW), a Graduate Diploma OHS (ECU), a Master of Hygiene and Toxicology (ECU) and will graduate from a Master of Public Health (NUMS) in 2019. Andy works for Rio Tinto as Principal Advisor Health and Hygiene at the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.
Naransukh Damiran, MPH, MSc, PhD, MAIOH is the first Mongolian to become a Full Member of the AIOH. Nara holds a Master of Public Health and PhD (NUMS) and a Master of Science (Johns Hopkins). Nara works in academia and consulting and is Executive Director of Health and Safety Solutions based in Ulaanbaatar. Nara is also the Chair of the Mongolian National Association of Occupational Hygienists.
Nara and Andy worked together to deliver a Health Impact Assessment.
Prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) are growing among working populations globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates NCD are responsible for 80% of all premature deaths (Lancet, 2016). The purpose of this study is to determine baseline level of NCD and risk factors among mine workers and to identify intervention strategies based on results. The collected results will be compared with a NCD study on the general population of Mongolia.
A cross sectional design was used for this study. 684 employees were randomly recruited to the study. We utilised WHO questionnaire to collect anthropogenic measurements, health behaviours, alcohol consumption, smoking, NCD and work related information.. The study focused on four (4) key risk factors of hypertension, obesity, drinking habits and smoking habits. These factors are key contributors to NCD and decreased life expectancy.
AIOH RPE Fit Test Training & Accreditation Scheme Update
Occupational Hygienist/Senior Application Engineer
Mark is an Occupational Hygienist whose current role at 3M Australia (Personal Safety Division) focuses on providing technical end user guidance and advice around the selection, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment. This is backed through his previous experience as a Occupational Hygiene/Property Risk Consultant, Masters in Science (Occupational Hygiene Practice), Cert IV in OHS, NSW Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA001242) and 15+ years in the safety equipment and training industry.
Mark is also the host of the weekly “Science of Safety Podcast”, which is available on all major podcast platform. He chats with expert guests on a range of WHS topics to provide practical advice and guidance for all workplaces.
A significant aspect of the practice of occupational hygiene in certain industries is the management of respiratory protective equipment programs, including fit testing. There is clear evidence that real world respiratory protective equipment (RPE) protection factors are improved when there is an RPE fit testing as part of a respiratory protection program (RPP). The specifics of RPE fit testing are coming under increasing scrutiny with such high reliance in many workplaces on RPE as a control. However, there is currently no clear guidance in Australia on what defines a “good” RPE fit test and unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of poor fit testing practice and mis-information in many industries. Most industries/companies currently use their own definition/level of a “competent person”, but what is a “competent person” varies significantly between industry/companies.
The AIOH are implementing an industry self-regulated RPE fit testing training and accreditation scheme in close co-operation with many stakeholders to fill this gap in guidance and best practice to provide the means for improving the quality of RPE fit testing in Australian workplaces.
Utilizing a holistic approach to ‘Beating the Build Up Blues’
Occupational Hygiene Advisor | Energy Resources of Australia
Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety Science (Hons), Currently employed at ERA Ranger Mine as the Occupational Hygiene Advisor and have 5 years experience in the resources sector in the Northern Territory and Central QLD.
Health Specialist | Energy Resources of Australia
Heat stress and heat-related illnesses continue to be one of the most prevalent health issues facing the workforce in the tropical Northern Territory environment. During the ‘build-up’ season in the Top End (Oct – Jan), not only are the climatic conditions extremely hot and humid, other external stresses can impact the health and wellbeing of workers. The end of year can bring about real or perceived deadlines, the holiday season can be stressful for some, particularly for those who work away from home. Anecdotally, a known phenomenon in the Top End is Mango Madness, high heat, humidity and stress tends to enhance negative behaviours such as anger, frustration and shortened tempers.
It’s important to take a holistic approach to address all aspects of health and wellbeing at this time of year. ERA Ranger Mine has an annual campaign during the Build-Up to the Wet Season (October – January) known as “Build up Blues.” This program aims to educate our workforce not only in heat stress and hydration, but also in work life balance, mental health and fitness for work. We will provide an overview of the topics and initiatives covered in our Build Up Blues Campaign, including workforce and leader heat stress workshop presentations, online heat-stress symptom surveys, physiological monitoring, programs to empower personnel to self-manage heat stress risk, delivering education programs targeting fitness for work and work-life balance, promote resilience through peer support, and implementing mental health programs and initiatives.
Concurrent Session 3 – ReBrand
Re-calibrating data interpretation for effective stakeholder engagement – A template to ‘Re-brand’ our communications
Occupational Hygiene Advisor
Mel has worked in the mining industry for the past eight years. Mel holds a degree in Health Science (BSc.) and is currently completing her Masters of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. Mel is currently employed with Rio Tinto where she holds the position of Occupational Hygiene Advisor – East Pilbara Operations.
One of the most important and often overlooked functions of the occupational hygienist is the ability to effectively communicate the work they undertake. The challenge of the hygienist in this regard is ‘how’ to distil complex data into an easy to understand message for the worker, given that this information is usually reported in a statistical language citing technical parameters, which can be perceived as both convoluted and confusing. Historically, the challenge has been effective stakeholder engagement when communicating such information, given significant latency periods in occupational health trends resulting in exposure risks often perceived as less of a priority when compared to acute ‘safety’ risks. In addition, hygienists need to be able to adapt their communications in order to ‘pitch’ their message to a particular audience, from shop floor to general manager. Referencing the need to ‘Re-brand’ ‘how’ we communicate as a profession, the paper aims to ‘Re-calibrate’ traditional occupational hygiene reporting through harnessing new technology and business intelligence software. Although not a new concept, the practice of analysing and reporting on business performance is deeply rooted in many organisations, and an opportunity exists to leverage this technology to promote stakeholder awareness of health risk. The paper provides a template for how to simply transform raw data to assist an outlook of providing an easy to interpret, interactive dashboard to communicate occupational hygiene trends and insights. The design principles discussed in the paper can be applied to any industry to improve health risk communication.
Metal Composition Analysis and Cell Exposure from PM2.5
Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Chung Shan Medical University
Students in the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, join the aerosol laboratory to study related aerosol expertise
Atmospheric particle pollution has become a major public problem, and particulate matter has a great effect on human health. In this study, the standard
TISCH high volume sampler (Taiwan EPA NIEA A 102.12A) was applied to collect ambient PM2.5 particles in Taichung city for one year, the concentration of PM2.5 in the environment was analyzed by weight, and the metal components, types. At last, the experiment of cell exposure to PM2.5 was performed to observe the change of VEGF. : Methods Using a TISCH high volume sampler, the amount of particulate matter in the air was collected and weighted by quartz filter paper for 24 hours at a sampling flow rate of 1.1 to 1.7 m3/min. The PM sample on the filter was immersed in deionized water and the water-soluble composition of particles were extracted by an ultrasonic oscillator. A GC-MS was used to analyze the heavy metal composition of the PM2.5. Then use ELISA and western blotting methods to observe changes in protein expression.
Conclusions: The PM2.5 concentration of Chung Shan Medical University (CSMU) station was similar to Taiwan EPA other PM2.5 stations in Taichung. According to the sampling results, it was found that the PM2.5 in Taichung was higher during winter, PM2.5 accounted for about 60% of the PM10. Some metal substances, such as lead, zinc, copper, etc., were found by GC-MS analysis. After exposure of watersoluble PM2.5 to lung cancer cells and normal lung cells, the expression of VEGF is significantly increased, which may induce angiogenesis. It is speculated that patients with lung cancer who are exposed to PM2.5 will make it easier for lung cancer patients to have a metastasis.
Finding the culprit : A case study of when toxicology and occupational hygiene meet
Associate Toxicology and Risk Assessment | WSP Australia Pty Limited
Nathan has been an Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Health Professional for over 18 years, providing expert risk assessment and toxicological services to a broad range of industries and government bodies. Nathan is a recognised Registered Professional in the field of Toxicology and Health Risk Assessment by the Australasian College of Toxicology and Risk, a Licensed Asbestos Assessor and a trained Public Health Professional.
Holding senior level positions in both the private and public sectors, Nathan has managed and successfully delivered multiple high-profile projects ranging from assessment of exposures to contaminants in our environments to national level policy development and advice. Nathan has considerable experience in sourcing, collating and interpreting epidemiological and toxicological hazard information to better determine health risks.
This papers discusses an investigation into reports of worker adverse health effects experienced during abnormal operations at a power generation site. The objective of this paper is to discuss use of toxicological and site specific information to narrow the list of potential hazards for investigation. Employees reported adverse health effects manifesting after exposure to spilled ash slurry or water resulting from abnormal operation such as ash pit over-boarding or pipe malfunctions. The reported health effects were compiled and a review was undertaken of the circumstances of exposure at the Site along with relevant literature in relation to upper respiratory physiology, the adverse health effects and related toxicological information. Of importance was knowing what symptoms were not experienced. Based on the available information, a list potential hazards with potential to cause the reported health effects was created, greatly reducing the need for extensive monitoring.
Concurrent Session 4 – ReCalibrate
Re-calibrating Health Risk Assessment in Bush Fire Fighting
Occupational Hygiene Advisor | West Pilbara Operations
Zach has worked in the field of Occupational Health and Hygiene for the past seven years, working across the Oil, Gas, Construction, Mining and Agriculture industries. Zach holds degrees in Health Science (BSc.), Occupational health and Safety (Grad Cert.) and is currently working toward gaining a Master’s degree in Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Zach is currently employed with Rio Tinto where he holds the position of Occupational Hygiene Advisor – West Pilbara Operations
The atmospheric exposure profile that accompanies the work of a firefighter is known to be complex and dynamic. Much of the literature to date illustrates a myriad of contaminants encountered by firefighters, mainly due to products of structural, vehicle and chemical combustion to which a firefighter is regularly exposed. For this reason, firefighters adopt specific controls in response to these ‘structural’ fires. Structural firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) typically includes a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) which aims to protect and account for the numerous compounds liberated during these fires.
Conversely, bush firefighting is a separate discipline with limited research available in the literature assessing and quantifying hazardous compounds released due to the combustion of native vegetation, with bush firefighters typically employing a lower level of respiratory control than that of structural firefighters.
The aim of the paper is to ‘re-calibrate’ the atmospheric risk profile associated with bush firefighting, given that it is anticipated bush firefighting would involve an atmospheric risk profile which differs to that of a structural fire. The research hypothesis is that an array of compounds, in addition to particulate matter, are released during combustion of vegetation. The paper will aim to identify and quantify selected compounds released during combustion of native vegetation including Formaldehyde, Acrolein, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The paper will provide guidance on how Occupational Hygienists can ‘re-synergise’ and align the health risk assessment approach to bush firefighting through the adoption of a multidisciplinary approach.
Development of a prediction model to assess costs for complying with OELV’s.
IH manager | Nickel Institute
Mr Verpaele currently works as manager Industrial Hygiene at the Nickel Institute and had senior roles at Mensura and the University College of Ghent. He is founder and president of the Belgian Centre for Occupational Hygiene (BeCOH), board member of the Belgian Society for Occupational Hygiene (BSOH), extraordinary member of the Belgian High Council for Prevention and Protection at Work and the Belgian representative in the EU OH platform. With a Master’s degree in Environmental Chemistry – Industrial Hygiene, he has more than 10 years’ experience as an expert in different ISO and CEN workgroups, with primary focus on workplace atmospheres.
EU authorities launched the process of deriving EU wide occupational exposure limits for nickel and nickel compounds. The Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launched activities to scientifically derive OELVs for nickel and nickel compounds. The European Commission also committed to put nickel compounds under the 4th wave of substances to be included into the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) which is currently under review. Under the CMD, socio-economic and technical feasibility factors are also considered, and the Commission will carry out an Impact Assessment covering Nickel compounds. An important and mainly difficult part of the impact assessment is the compliance cost. Feedback received by companies and sectors showed that deriving compliance cost data for a range of different limit values is challenging. Therefore, guidance how to derive compliance costs for different OELV levels for Nickel compounds should be available. The Nickel Institute therefore decided to develop a cost prediction model. Exposure scenarios are the basis of the model, especially the different workers contributing scenario’s in the registration dossiers for Ni compounds. A questionnaire is designed to gather retrospective cost data related to the RMM’s in relation to the exposure concentration. The total cost output of the model is depending on common processes, workplaces and company size and considers the existing Risk Management Measures and Operational Conditions and is providing information on additional measures needed to comply with a certain OELV. The developed tool can also be an important help for occupational hygienists to estimate the costs to lower exposure at certain workplaces.
Re-energise Occupational Hygiene focus in a global mining company
Corporate Health and Safety Manager | OceanaGold Corporation
Portia has worked as a health and safety professional across a wide range of industries including explosives, mining, public health and the renewable energy sector. With 20 years of industry experience it was participation in the development of the Rio Tinto Health Standards early in her career that inspired her interest in occupational health and hygiene. Portia has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design and post graduate qualifications in Occupational Health and Safety and is a chartered member of the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH). With a demonstrated passion for the health, safety and wellbeing of people, and a genuine interest in occupational hygiene, Portia is a strong driver of change, influencing executive management and operational teams. A recent addition to the OceanaGold team, Portia is aiming to have Occupational Health & Hygiene risks at the forefront of people’s mind when embarking on new projects, during project studies and at operating sites.
Identifying trends in data across multiple sites and countries can be extremely challenging, especially when viewed against a background of varying regulatory requirements, reporting formats, collection methods, and management objectives. Years of data nested in multiple layers of mixed collection and reporting techniques can overpower the value of such data and obscure the risks of worker exposures.
OceanaGold (OGC) is a mid-tier multinational gold producer with primary operations in New Zealand, the Philippines and the Unites States, and offices in Australia and the U.S. Until 2019 occupational hygiene (OH) management had largely been guided by various consultants with limited ability for corporate oversight.
To facilitate effective and systematic OH management across the group OGC committed to extending and customising the capabilities of its existing health data management system – InHealth. This involved getting back to basics to ensure all sites had (or would) adopt a consistent approach to identifying, evaluating, controlling, and reviewing hazards at each site across the group.
Using Didipio in the Philippines as a test site, the InHealth project team has successfully implemented InHealth as a data management, trending, and reporting tool. The InHealth system has enabled a shift to holistic risk management by incorporating Occupational Health and Hygiene into the company’s existing risk management strategy and reporting framework. The InHealth tool facilitates this by reporting trends across the organisation and storing data for all aspects of the risk management process in one central location.
This presentation will discuss the challenging and rewarding aspects of introducing new management systems across different cultures, navigating established perceptions and methods, to provide a comprehensive method of risk management for OH risks to workers.
Concurrent Session 5 – ReSynergise
Integrating occupational hygiene into mine closure – a multidisciplinary approach
Megan has worked in the mining industry for 11 years across various businesses and operations in Western Australia. Megan holds a degree in Sports Science, Exercise Science and has completed the Basic Principles in Occupational Hygiene course. Megan currently holds the role of Occupational Hygiene Advisor with Rio Tinto.
Mine closure is an important and inevitable part of any mine life cycle. The legacy a mining operator leaves post operational cessation is a key measure of their contribution to sustainable development, and fundamental to maintaining business reputation. The aim of closure work is to minimise the financial, social and environmental risks and liabilities associated with permanently ceasing operations, which requires a multi-disciplinary approach at all stages of the life of an asset. Closure planning has traditionally centred around environmental, heritage and community considerations, in addition to balancing any financial liability. Given these traditional focus areas, an opportunity exists to introduce health and hygiene consideration into the multidisciplinary closure framework. The paper focuses on the role of the occupational hygienist in ensuring that critical controls for the prevention of health exposures are identified, functioning as designed and verifiable during all stages of the mine closure process, in addition to managing legacy items that may present post-closure. The paper outlines three distinct pillars by which closure is delivered - Business as usual, Make safe, Demolition/De-construction – and details how the occupational hygienist is involved in each step of the closure planning and delivery process. In addition, the paper details the development of a specific health and hygiene management plan to address the changing risk profile within the context of closure, and steps out a process for integration of occupational hygiene considerations within the context of a multi-disciplinary mine closure team.
A waste management project with logistics and occupational hygiene interactions
Private consultant | Martin Jennings & Associates
Martin Jennings has over 40 years experience in the public and private sectors, over a wide ranges of industries including mining, chemicals, Defence and construction. He is a a Fellow and past President of the AIOH and a COH.
This paper describes synergies attained in a logistics project with occupational hygiene involvement. The project involved decommissioning and demolishing 3 large car manufacturing plants, which contained such regulated hazardous materials as asbestos, lead and PCBs. While compliance with relevant legislation was a given, the client's requirements for certain hazardous substances had to be managed, including their demand for cost recovery of designated scrap metals.
To meet these demands, a proprietary software program TracBASE, was used for cradle to grave tracking of 35 waste streams. TracBASE can be tailored to project requirements. For this project, with occupational hygiene input, it was configured to include decision points, communications, licensing, audits and records.
This gave a robust system which provided full assurance to the client of successful management of hazardous waste and met the key objective of ensuring minimal reputational risk to the client.
Toll for Toil
Regional Industrial Hygiene Manager - Asia and Middle East
Holly Fletcher is a Certified Occupational Hygienist, and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master of Science, majoring in Occupational Hygiene Practice.
Historically, Holly has worked on major projects in various industries throughout Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Laos, including gas extraction, resource recovery, complex contaminated land remediation and large-scale tunnelling and underground mine expansion projects. Now in her Industrial Hygiene role with SGS, Holly governs the implementation of corporate compliance standards and subsequent occupational health performance in 38 countries across SGS’s business lines in North East and South East Asia and the Middle East.
Currently, Holly holds a graduate research scholarship at the University of Wollongong and is midway through completing a PhD investigating health interventions that improve health outcomes in Chilean mine workers.
Recent media publications are citing silica as “the new asbestos”, when in fact silica exposure and resultant occupational lung disease have deep foundations within Australia’s colonial history. Once termed “Tunnel Miners Disease”, silicosis has been the subject of multiple State and Commonwealth parliamentary inquiries, the earliest in 1902 and most recently in 2017.
The fundamental question is “Why do Australian workers continue to experience such disease outcomes”? To answer this question, a systematic literature review was conducted with the objective of identifying and evaluating evidence to support the historical attempts to control worker silica dust exposure, all while balancing the competing interests of stakeholders to achieve the development of critical infrastructure. The presentation “Toll for Toil” will communicate the systematic literature review findings and in particular will elicit the social, political and cultural factors that have influenced the historical repetition of occupational disease experienced by generations of workers to deliver critical infrastructure, required to support Australia’s ever-expanding population. What’s has changed? What hasn’t?
Concurrent Session 6 – ReBrand
Characterisation of Respiratory Hazards during the Manufacture and Installation of Engineered and Natural Stone Products
Western Sydney University
In 2017, the lead author was approached by a small NSW based business to undertake respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure monitoring at their factory, which produces a range of natural and engineered stone kitchen and bathroom products, as well as funeral monuments. The concern was raised because the manger had become aware of a case of accelerated silicosis in a young stone mason. Assessment was subsequently undertaken on 2 occasions (July and November 2018) to investigate personal exposure to RCS across the various factory operations. Particular attention was given to monitoring the efficiency of all wet production techniques in controlling worker exposure to RCS. Respirable dust sampling was undertaken in accordance with ASNZS-2985:2009 and analysed for quartz content by X-ray diffraction at a NATA accredited lab. The RCS exposures measured across the SEGs (Wet Polish, Assembly, Line Production, Installation and Monumental) were consistently below the current Safe Work Australia (SWA) workplace exposure standard (WES) 0.10 mg/m3, with a single measurement exceeding the 50% action level during the cleaning of monumental section. However, a reduction of the WES to 0.02mg/m3 has been proposed. The factory incorporates both remote operation cutting and polishing machines with integrated water suppression technology, as well as manual wet cutting and polishing, and has installed an onsite dust capture and water recycling facility. This paper will report on the ranges of exposures and current controls in place, and the controls that are being incorporated to ensure the health and wellbeing of workers at the facility.
Working Safely with Engineered Stone - A Fabricators Perspective
Principal Consultant - Occupational Hygiene | Greencap
Jason is a Principal Consultant in Greencap's Sydney office in the Occupational Hygiene Practice. Jason has over 25 years’ consulting and industry experience working with chemical, physical & biological hazards including dusts & fibres, asbestos, noise, chemicals, indoor air quality, microbiological issues as well as exposure and risk assessment. One of Jason’s current focus is on assisting workplaces with the crystalline silica management and specifically working safely with Engineered Stone materials. Jason has conducted hundreds of hygiene investigations within residential, commercial and industrial buildings/sites throughout Australia. Many of those investigations focused on chemical, physical and biological hazards.
All engineered stone fabricating workplaces have respirable crystalline silica (RCS) as their target worker exposure. This fabricator perspective presentation is vital to truly understand the risk profile and provide a systematic process for managing the RCS hazards at all stages of the fabricating operations. This presentation will provide a fabricators vision of the silica agent, how hazards are controlled and what methods are used to verify that controls are effective. This risk-based approach to managing RCS health and hygiene hazards will include changing technology and current scientific knowledge in the industry. As well as the ground swell that is encouragement of innovation onto the engineered stone fabricators workshop floor with this new technology realised within this presentation. There will be site -specific understandings of the fabrication industry leaders. This objective guidance and instruction is explained here in a step-by-step process as it made aware to the fabricator employer and workers so that they understand the RCS health risks in the workplace, what controls are in place and how the controls work.
This presentation will include the process of liaison directly with the Fabricators, but also a number of other stakeholders periodically (e.g. project management teams, subcontractor hygienist, site safety committees, unions, EPA, State-based regulators, Safe Work Australia, the general public, etc). There will be discussions and insights relating to the ‘primary’ workplace, being the fabricator workshop as well as the ‘secondary’ workplaces such as joineries and onsite installations at residential and/or commercial premises. Recent findings from investigations will be presented as well as future experiments being undertaken to provide practical and real reductions in exposures to fabricator workers.
Are you Independent and Competent?
Senior Occupational Hygienist | WorkSafe Victoria
Perdita is a full member of the AIOH with over 10 years of Occupational Hygiene experience in the heavy manufacturing and healthcare industries. She recently joined WorkSafe Victoria as a Senior Occupational Hygienist. This role provides specialist support to inspectors and businesses throughout Victoria across a number of occupational hygiene topics.
Building owners, employers, employees and the community expect that asbestos is removed completely and safely every time. This presentation will discuss asbestos removal in Victoria, common issues and potential outcomes and how occupational hygienists can add value to those with management and control, asbestos removalists and the community.
The Victorian Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations 2017 and the compliance code for removing asbestos in workplaces specifically set out the requirement to use an independent person for:
•the visual inspection and consequential development of a clearance certificate, which may require air monitoring, at the completion of asbestos removal works, and
•the determination of airborne asbestos fibre levels during certain removals of asbestos contaminated dust.
Further to this the independent person must have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience (competency) to undertake those duties.
Occupational hygienists are identified in the compliance code as an example of a person with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience for undertaking these duties. These characteristics can be met through:
•occupational hygiene qualifications with a strong focus on epidemiology, health risk and control options, and
•experience in areas relevant to where the removal work are being undertaken.
The use of persons who do not have required competency can lead to initial poor identification of asbestos, poor planning of asbestos removal jobs and poor final inspections.
Even though occupational hygienists are intrinsically associated with asbestos activities with no specific requirement for occupational hygienists to undertake these duties the profession must re-brand itself and communicate clearly to duty holders that they are independent and competent.
Concurrent Session 7 ReCalibrate:
Compliance for occupational hygiene: WHSQ’s enforcement campaign of the stone benchtop fabrication industry in QLD
Acting Director Occupational Health and Hygiene Unit | Office of Industrial RelationsWorkplace Health and Safety Queensland
Carolyn Topping is the Acting Director of the Occupational Health and Hygiene Unit within Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. She is a workplace health and safety inspector, full member of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists and a Certified Occupational Hygienist. Carolyn has worked for Queensland government safety regulators for twenty years including the Office of Industrial Relations and Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Her team is leading significant interventions in occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica in Queensland.
The emergence of cases of accelerated silicosis in Queensland workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica during the fabrication of stone benchtops prompted an industrywide audit campaign during 2018.
A team of workplace health and safety inspectors and occupational hygienists worked together to carry out 138 compliance audits within a 4-month period. This was the largest occupational health compliance focussed campaign in Queensland since the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and resulted in over 600 statutory notices being issued.
The audits identified significant health and safety issues across the industry, and highlighted an immature understanding of health risks posed by respirable crystalline silica by both businesses and workers. This presentation will provide information about the methods used, current regulatory compliance requirements, findings and lessons for other industries.
Concurrent Session 8 ReSynergise:
Basic Occupational Hygiene Services for Small Enterprises
Chair, Scientific Committee on Occupational Health in Small Scale Enterprises and the Informal Sector | International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH)
Mahinda Seneviratne is a certified occupational hygienist with over 25 years’ experience as an occupational health professional involving research, teaching, consulting, regulatory enforcement and policy development. Mahinda is currently chair of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH)’s scientific committee on improving occupational health among workers in small enterprises and informal sectors. He has facilitated several multi-disciplinary workshops to deliver basic occupational health services in Asia and Africa.
Occupational Hygiene is a powerful tool in preventing work-related illness & disease but only a minority of workplaces have access to this critical occupational health service. Most workplaces in Australia and in many other regional economies are micro or small to medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) with less than 30 workers. MSMEs are known to have greater exposure to workplace hazards and subsequent risk of illness to its workers but have little or no access to the resources required to identify and address them.
Delivering Basic Occupational Health Services (BOHS) such as occupational hygiene assessments & advice to control hazardous exposures and health monitoring for early detection and prevention of illness & disease are a global priority for ICOH which is taking some practical steps to address this challenge.
One of ICOH's scientific committees SCOHSSEIS* has focussed on two approaches: (a) building capability among OH professionals and social partners to deliver basic occupational hygiene skills & knowledge to MSMEs and (b) engaging with medical practitioners to improve occupational health monitoring of vulnerable workers.
This will be an interactive session involving the “power of many disciplines” and participants. It aims to explore some of the unseen barriers as well as unexplored opportunities, including using novel tools, in providing basic occupational hygiene practice to protect workers in MSMEs. Is this a very timely climate for the occupational hygiene profession to ReCalibrate its coverage of service delivery? To ReSynergise its engagement with fellow occupational health practitioners for a more wholistic approach to workers' health? Can we ReBrand the profession as an accessible and equitable community to serve a larger sector of the workforce?
* Scientific Committee on Occupational Health in Small Scale Enterprises and the Informal Sectors (SCOHSSEIS)
Concurrent Session 9 Rebranding:
Harnessing the Power of Many
Dr Steve Dix
Director of Learning and Teaching, School of Marketing | Faculty of Business and Law, Curtin University
The golden thread that connects Steve’s career is his passion as practitioner and mentor in brand building, digital marketing and advertising. Steve’s experience spans across borders. He established and developed brand value at Global School of Business in South Africa, led the re-branding of market leader David Forman Ltd in New Zealand and has informed brand management campaigns in Australia.
Steve is Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Marketing at Curtin University. Moreover, he consults to SME’s and is engaged across several entrepreneurial ventures in industry. Steve’s sweet spot is where creative, rigour and passion converge. He is hard-wired to think more deeply than his competition, work smarter than his peers and engage better with his audiences. Tortured soul?
An insightful exploration into the underbelly of the brand. In this highly visual presentation, Steve sets out to share how the world outside of the AIOH sees the world inside. What can we learn from the great brand stories of the past to leverage the lessons of branding for our discipline?
Find out why AIOH faces an ‘interesting’ re-branding challenge. What path might we go down in our quest to build brand image and profile around Occupational Hygiene? Explore what you can do to bring the power of many to the new brand story for AIOH.
Concurrent Session 10 – ReCalibrate
Controlling exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica in Sydney Demolition Workers - A Client-led Intervention
Occupational Health & Hygiene Manager | Sydney Metro
Kate Cole is an Engineer and Certified Occupational Hygienist who has worked in the construction industry for almost two decades on projects in Australia, Hong Kong and the USA. She holds degrees in Science, Engineering and Occupational Hygiene, and is currently supporting Sydney Metro as the Occupational Health and Hygiene Manager.
A passionate advocate for preserving the health of Australian construction workers, Kate has been the catalyst for industry change, forming the first Air Quality Working Group through the Australian Tunnelling Society to address the issue of silica dust during construction. Amongst her many achievements, Kate was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship where she travelled globally to investigate world best practice in silica dust control, was named as one of the Top 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review for her work in addressing the issue of silica dust in construction, and is one of Science & Technology Australia's Superstars of STEM.
Sydney Metro is Australia’s largest public transport project and has served a unique opportunity to leave not only a world class transportation system, but also a legacy for future generations. A strategic element of our legacy is the development of a client-led system for worker health protection.
Demolition is one of the many activities required to be performed to deliver Sydney Metro. Such activities commonly produce respirable crystalline silica (RCS) as numerous building materials such as bricks and tiles contain quartz. Given Sydney Metro’s contractors are demolishing over 65 buildings to make way for a new world-class transport system, demolition workers may be exposed to RCS at quantities that could result in occupational lung disease if not adequately controlled. Expectedly, RCS exposure was identified as one of the highest health risks during demolition activities.
The demolition process involves various phases, most of which are sequenced in a defined order of events or activities, while others occur simultaneously. Based on the particular phase of work at the site, work activities/tasks, equipment/machines and workers required on site can be variable, however over-arching phases are apparent.
Sydney Metro instilled specific contractual requirements with regards to the management of RCS exposures in demolition across multiple Principal Contractors. This paper provides a unique view through providing an overarching summary of the processes adopted in this industry; the resultant common Similar Exposure Groups; the magnitude of RCS exposures; and the effectiveness of common control measures adopted to control RCS exposures.
By supporting occupational health from the most senior level, Sydney Metro has raised awareness of the importance of controlling silica dust during demolition activities and has driven change by setting new standards in occupational health performance in this high-risk industry.
Parallel Particle Impactor: A New Sampler for Accurate Fractioning of Respirable Dust at a Choice of Flowrates
SVP and Corporate IH | SKC Inc.
Respirable dusts including silica are high priority issues for occupational hygienists in both the U.S. and Australia. Both countries have seen a worrisome increase in lung disease in industries such as stonecutting and mining. In response, U.S. OSHA lowered the permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica (RCS) to 50 ug/m3 in 2016. Similarly, there have been proposals by the Australian National Standards to substantially lower the allowable levels for respirable coal dust and RCS to align with health-based limits. Cyclones have been the long-standing sampler for respirable dusts and the flowrates for traditional models have been modified through the years to better approximate the performance criteria specified in pertinent standards. A new impaction-based sampler called the Parallel Particle Impactor (PPI) was developed to precisely match the current ISO 7708 criteria (ISO/CEN convention) at flows of 2, 4, or 8 L/min. Test results indicate the PPI closely follows the ISO 7708 criteria and samplers continue to perform as designed even after prolonged exposure to coal mine dust. The higher flow options also enhance the limit of detection. Reusable models are available in aluminum alloy 2011 and single-use models are available in anti-static plastic. The PPI personal impactors are described in the U.S. silica rule as meeting the ISO/CEN convention and are very widely used as an alternative to cyclones.
State-of-art Analysis of Respirable Crystalline Silica by Direct-method using X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and recent findings from workplace air samples.
TestSafe Australia - SafeWork NSW
Akemi Ichikawa is a senior analytical chemist in SafeWork NSW/Test Safe Australia. She received a Master degree in chemistry and PhD in science from the Tokyo University of Science. Her expertise are chemical analysis, material science and nano-materials. She was working at a Water laboratory in the NSW government, then moved to this laboratory in 2017. Before that, she has been working as a research scientist in the electronics industry and has over 20 years’ experiences of research & development and failure analysis for the products. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers and over 200 patents.
Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) can result in the development of a range of adverse health effects, including silicosis and lung cancer. Internationally RCS occupational exposure limits are being lowered, putting pressure on the capability of the analytical techniques used. To monitor the Crystalline Silica (α-Quartz and Cristobalite) in air, X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) or Fourier Transform Infra Red (FT-IR) is used. At the last conference, a comparison of two direct on filter methods showed that using XRD has better results compared to FT-IR on several points: less interferences from common matrixes, ability to handle up to 2 mg and correct for overloading, and ability to achieve lower detection limits.
In this paper, we will discuss further developments on lowering the limit of detection using a state-of-art XRD instrument, and show recent findings from workplace air samples from kitchen benchtop manufacturing.
Concurrent Session 11 – ReSynergise
What do Occupational Hygienists really know about dermal exposure?
Dr Sharyn Gaskin
Senior Research Fellow | University of Adelaide
Dr Sharyn Gaskin (MAIOH) is a Senior Research Fellow in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Unit at University of Adelaide. Her field of expertise is in Occupational & Environmental Health having a primary focus on industry partnerships and relationships, including defence and security–related applied research in occupational and community health.
Her research program explores the pathways and impacts of occupational hazards on human health and society, and leads to the development of effective interventions to control and prevent exposure to hazards.
This paper describes the AIOH and BOHS member responses to a questionnaire on current work practices and understanding of the management of dermal exposure issues in the workplace. The aim was to explore the knowledge and practice of OHS professionals relating to dermal exposure to hazardous agents in the workplace. The survey comprised of questions in four key areas: employment demographics, experience managing dermal exposure, knowledge of dermal exposure management and resources, and opinions on professional knowledge gaps and preferred training methods. The survey was disseminated in 2016 in the UK and 2018 in Australia, with a total of 116 and 114 responses from each jurisdiction, respectively.
The results showed the majority of respondents had personally evaluated the risks of dermal exposure to chemicals (BOHS 92%, n=107; AIOH 86%, n=76), albeit infrequently (less than a few times per year). Occupational Hygienists reportedly adopted a range of strategies to control dermal exposure problems, including higher order hierarchy of control measures such as chemical elimination/substitution (BOHS 68%, n=75; AIOH 68%, n=59), changing work practices (BOHS 79%, n=87; AIOH 75%, n=65), and education (BOHS 77%, n=85; AIOH 83%, n=72). The use of gloves or other PPE remained the most commonly cited exposure control measure (BOHS 99%, n=109; AIOH 97%, n=84). While there appeared to be a good understanding of common dermal exposure workplace scenarios (e.g. isocyanate exposure in motor vehicle repair, solvent exposure during spray painting), the overwhelming majority of respondents wished to find out more about assessing the risks from dermal exposure to chemicals (BOHS 89%, n=103; AIOH 88%, n=72).
The outcomes will help suggest ways to increase the competence of professionals in dealing with dermal exposure matters in the workplace, through mechanisms such as web based guidance, interactive educational materials and webinars, as well as workshops and seminars.
A collective approach to managing potable water health risk – a case study in how occupational hygienists can ‘Re-synergise’
Superintendent Occupational Hygiene
David is a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH) who has worked in the mining industry for eight years across various operations Australia-wide. David holds degrees in Biological Science, Occupational Therapy and is currently a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate at Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. Currently holding the role of Superintendent Occupational Hygiene with Rio Tinto, David and his team are responsible for the delivery of Occupational Hygiene services and support across all of Rio Tinto’s Western Australian operations .
Health risks associated with the provision of safe drinking water can be significant, and the risk perceptions associated with drinking water from a consumer standpoint can be emotive. Across many industries, Occupational Hygienists are becoming a focal point for biological risk management with respect to drinking water on account of their holistic process of Anticipation, Recognition, Evaluation, Communication and Control of health hazards. The paper outlines a case study detailing the pathway from the identification of a significant pathogen (Naegleria fowleri) in a mine site potable water supply, through to the collaborative approach that was taken to communicate the risk to the workforce, inform appropriate controls, and complete control verification. In addition, the paper provides a template for how operational, communications, safety and occupational hygiene teams can collaborate to produce positive health outcomes for the workforce through leveraging the skillsets of a true multidisciplinary team.
Crowdsourcing OH Data to Create Value Inside & Outside the Facility Fenceline
Lead Occupational HygienistChevron Energy Technology Compan
Vivek spent 6 years working in refineries, gas plants, and onshore upstream facilities with BP, before joining the Energy Technology Company in Chevron in 2018. His experience has been mostly in the practice of field industrial hygiene, with specific focus in mercury, and radiological hazards (NORM). He also claims membership to the millennial generation, deep diving into data science to visualize and analyze big data sets in the field of health and safety. Most recently he’s been managing the Safety & Health Risk Management R&D Program, scanning for new technologies and research opportunities to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.
Crowd-sourcing has engulfed our society. Mass communication and technology have connected a grandmother with a surplus of home-made pad thai, to an Uber driver willing to take a detour, to a hungry customer without the time to cook that night. Crowd-sourcing exists across all social and business interactions and is changing how we work. The practice of occupational hygiene (OH) should not be left behind and we should leverage the power of many to improve health and safety outcomes for our workers.
Chevron has operations across the globe, each with a unique set of OH hazards, and varying levels of associated risks. Despite being on different continents, a refinery in Kazakhstan should be able to leverage mercury exposure controls already established and in practice from a gas plant in WA. Organized OH data should be able to facilitate this process instantly. Being a data-poor field, each OH sample is incredibly valuable, and must be maximized to its’ fullest potential.
We have integrated Chevron global OH databases from 1982, and visualized results in an analytical platform, to derive valuable health insights through data visualization, discovery, and data wrangling for several applications. Practical examples to date include:
-Developing a PPE matrix for welding exposures at a facility with zero OH data
-Approval of a corporate mercury standard based on historical trending of occupational exposure limits and sample results
-Justification for an improved new chemical management of change process
-OH sample data standardization to inform future epidemiological studies
This presentation will explain the approaches above, which we have accomplished through statistics, exploratory analyses, and connecting disparate data sets. Our efforts leverage hard-earned field work to implement more sweeping change, motivate stakeholders to make data driven decisions, and improve our risk communication to business leaders to take targeted action to improve workers health.
Concurrent Session 12 – ReBrand
Barangaroo - The development of dynamic occupational hygiene control plans in a unique CBD environment
Principal Occupational Hygienist | WSP Australia
The Barangaroo remediation project is one of the most unique and large-scale environmental projects in Australia.
As a former gas works site with significant contamination and exposure risk, it is currently Sydney’s largest urban regeneration project. The remediation and removal of asbestos, coal tar, cyanide, zinc, benzene and other contaminants from an area on the edge of the CBD has been a significant and complex undertaking, alongside the noise, heat stress and air quality issues that accompany removal activities undertaken in a large odour control enclosure.
This presentation highlights the development of controls measures at various phases from the initial use of PPE to the development and installation of unique local exhaust ventilation systems. It also highlights the expanding expectations on hygienists to work closer with all stakeholders including engineering and communications specialists in large scale projects to ensure comprehensive exposure protection.
Prevention of Chronic Health Risk thru Health Performance Tracking and Analysis
Ahmad Khairi B Abdullah
1. Problem Statement/Situation,
There is a need for to improve the health performance tracking and analysis due to the increasing number of occupational illness cases from year to year, inconsistent implementation of requirement resulting in lapses in chronic health risk management causing inaccuracy of data and no dedicated tracking & analysis to identify the root causes of poor performance.
It is 3 year journey
a) Situational assessment was conducted with focus on the hearing conservation program to identify lapses in the reporting and analysis of hearing conservation program.
b) Verification of the data and analysis on hearing loss & threshold shift based on group wide occupational health integrated information system.
c) Root causes analysis based on illness investigation report
d) Improvement of the tracking and analysis with the introduction of health performance triangle.
e) Update to management on agreed health performance indicator for each facility.
Better understanding of chronic health risk data and root causes that improve the intervention and possible application of predictive analysis hearing loss.
4. Discussion/ Conclusion/Lessons Learned
There is a need for better leading performance indicator for other chronic health risk that control measures adequacy or effectiveness (not limiting to risk assessment, exposure monitoring and medical surveillance) or using health impact index.
Are you part of a bigger picture? Or do you have tunnel vision?
Principal Occupational Hygienist | WSP
Peter Aspinall is Principal Occupational Hygienist at WSP, a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH), a full member of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (MAIOH) & New Zealand Occupational Hygiene Society (NZOHS).
Peter has over 20 years’ experience working and consulting in multiple industry disciplines including Oil & Gas, Mining, Construction and Healthcare. Peter's holistic approach to worker health has been shaped by his health background and additional studies including Masters of Science - Occupational Hygiene Practice, Grad. Dip Occupational Health & Safety, and Nursing Science Degree.
When not talking health & safety to anyone that listens, he is picking up kids or volunteering at the football club and can be found on Twitter & LinkedIn (via #occupationalhygiene).
Having the skills to understand the health and safety duties of the hygienist, complying with current and pending legislation changes, or anticipating when to apply reasonably practicable solutions to control hazards, is something that develops with time and experience. How do you obtain this skill and get the help and support when required? Consulting hygienists can be ethically compromised when communicating identified hazards of a workplace. Are you just trying to “get more work”, down playing a potential issue, or are you strengthening the occupational hygiene brand and adding value? Are you still meeting your duty of care??
What you do as an industry professional can impact on you, your company and the greater occupational hygiene brand. This presentation reviews some of the actions and outcomes of workplace case studies to identify potential traps for new hygienists, and flags issues which may cause experienced ones to lose sight of the bigger picture…
Concurrent Session 13 – ReCalibrate
Safe compressed air cleaning - a global solution
Director and Principal Environmental Engineer | Synergetics Consulting Engineers
Dave is Director and Principal Environmental Engineer at Synergetics Consulting Engineers, international industrial process and environmental consultants and product developers for Governments, and aeronautical, mining, manufacturing and construction industries. See samples of Synergetics work at www.synergetics.com.au or call +61-393284800. Dave represented the Commonwealth Government on Australia's first National Environmental Standards (Air NEPM) and served on the National Advisory Body for Wastes and developed National Standards for PCBs and OCPs. Dave was Chair of the AIGroup Environment Committee, President CASANZ Vic/Tas, Visiting Scientist CSIRO, Judge for Large Industry Banksia Awards and the Victorian Environmental Awards. He is an accredited CPEng, MAIOH and CIH, FIEAust, FAIE, and served on various Standards committees and is a NATA Assessor. He is recipient of an EPA Fellowship; UN World Env Day Award; Melbourne Award; and 1200 Building Founding Member.
Use of compressed air to clean electrical equipment is a routine maintenance task in heavy mining equipment (HME) across the Queensland Mining Industry. During cleaning elevated levels of harmful dust can engulf the compressed air cleaning operator for extended periods and increase the risk of developing lung diseases including pneumoconiosis and silicosis. In 2017 the Queensland Mines Inspectorate (Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy, 2018) reported that approximately 50% of all respirable dust and Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) exceedances in surface coal mines were directly related to the use of compressed air for compressed air cleaning of equipment prior to maintenance. Respiratory protection has historically been viewed as the primary control to protect the health of compressed air cleaning operators, as higher order controls such as engineering controls have not been considered feasible.
The principal of applying engineering controls for compressed air cleaning of haul truck electrical cabinets was reported and demonstrated at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference in 2018 (Worland, Stream, Brett and Collins). Here the electrical cabinets were converted into a full enclosures under negative pressure resulting in a physical barrier between the worker and the dust generating compressed air cleaning task. This paper describes the further development and field testing of engineering controls over the intervening 12 months. Safe compressed air cleaning has now been demonstrated for a broad range of HME including trucks, excavators, dragline MG sets and stationary equipment. The controls incorporate continuous monitoring of airborne particulate with feedback systems to shutdown compressed air and demonstrate that safe compressed air cleaning is achievable.
Changes in hearing threshold levels for workers entering Australian coal mines between
1991 - 2015
Lecturer | University of Newcastle
Adélle is a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH, MAIOH) with 13 years’ experience in Occupational Hygiene Investigations, Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) Management, Project Management and Teaching & Learning. Her work experience ranges from gold and coal mining operations, to industrial and manufacturing facilities, with work in both private practice and as a consultant. She joined the University of Newcastle as a lecturer in Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology in 2014 and is currently enrolled in a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health through the University of Newcastle’s School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine. Her area of research is aimed at audiometry and prevention of noise induced hearing loss in workplaces.
The objective of this study was to identify changes in audiometric test results for workers commencing work in Australian coal mines, operated within in the state of New South Wales (NSW). Firstly, we aimed to determine if workers commence work on the mine sites with an existing degree of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL); secondly, compare the extent of any NIHL between age groups, and lastly; to compare the mean hearing threshold level (HTL) of current workers to those of previous decades. This is an observational, retrospective, repeated cross-sectional study, where paired t-tests were conducted to determine the difference in mean HTL between ears, and linear regression to establish changes in mean HTL over time. De-identified audiometric records of employees entering NSW coal mining between 1991 – 2015 were utilised. Evidence of audiometric notches were found for all workers, 18 – 65 years, between 2001 – 2015 at 6kHz. The study found that mean HTL improved over time; the greatest improvement in hearing between 1991 - 1995 and 2001 - 2005. This is the first study to investigate audiometric data for workers entering NSW coal mining, and results can inform development of effective hearing conservation programs in coal mines
Recalibration of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems for Soil Samples Analysis
Occupational Hygiene Technician – Greater Tom Price Marandoo Operations | Rio Tinto
Carl has worked in the field of occupational health, hygiene and safety for the past seven years in the Mining, Consulting, Public Services, Construction and Manufacturing industries. Carl holds a Master of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology and Master of Occupational Health and Safety from Edith Cowan University, as well as multiple Advanced Diploma, Diploma and Certificate IV level qualifications from various institutes. Carl is currently employed with Rio Tinto where he holds the position of Occupational Hygiene Technician – Greater Tom Price Marandoo Operations.
This project aimed to recalibrate the efficacy of local extraction ventilation (LEV) systems used to reduce dust emissions in the laboratory testing services industry. The aim of the study was to determine the efficiency of those extraction ventilation systems and whether they are suitable for controlling exposures to dust during soil preparation in a laboratory.
A multidisciplinary approach was adopted which harnessed input from soil analysis experts, environmental scientists, as well as laboratory personnel, and was considered in conjunction with information extracted from a robust literature review of the hazard. This approach aided in illustrating a problem statement, anticipating hazards associated with soil preparation within the laboratory setting, recognising health impacts associated with soil preparation, evaluating dust concentrations and extraction system suitability, as well as to provide suitable controls.
LEV measurements collected from the suction inlets indicated that both inlets were unsuitable to adequately capture rogue dust, respirable particles and asbestos dust during soil preparation with either a single inlet or multiple inlets operating. The measurements collected from the ventilation duct indicated that the LEV system was inadequate to capture rogue dust, respirable particles and asbestos dust releases during soil preparation.
The recommendations made as a result of this project were made harnessing a multidisciplinary approach and in consultation with key users of the control to ensure the installation of an appropriately designed and installed receiving hood. Due to extensive stakeholder engagement, recommendations made were pragmatic and ensured adequate capture velocities without impeding movement in and around the LEV system.
Concurrent Session 14 – ReSynergise
Occupational noise exposure during pregnancy and its effect on the foetus
Tiffany is a hygiene technician recently starting her career in Occupational Hygiene. She graduated from Flinders University (SA) with a Bachelor of Health Science (microbiology) and participated in two publications looking at antifungal properties of essential oils towards fungi isolated from indoor environments.
The foetal cochlea is structurally ready to function as early as the eighteenth week of pregnancy and studies have found that noise travels well in the uterine environment. The maternal abdomen partially filters high and mid- frequency sounds but allows the low frequency sounds to travel. There are also suggestions the uterine environment can enhance the intensity of low frequency sounds by up to 5 dB.
As a result, research shows that children whose mothers were exposed to noise between 85 to 100 dB(A) during their pregnancy have a higher risk of hearing loss compared to children who were not exposed. Research has also suggested a correlation between noise exposure in pregnancy with low birth weight, small for gestational age and prematurity.
While there are current exposure standards for occupational noise, there is no standard for vulnerable populations such as expectant mothers.
The aim of this study is to analyse the current literature on noise exposure during pregnancy, the health outcomes for the foetus, and to suggest possible solutions to eliminate or reduce any foreseeable risk.
This review examines published research on the effect of external noise on the foetus, sound conduction of external sounds in the uterus, and negative health effects from continuous external noise exposure.
Occupational Hygiene Exposure Assessment of Tank Operators during Manual Tank Gauging in the Downstream Oil and Gas Industry
Dr Ayman Arfaj
Ayman Arfaj is a qualified occupational health professional and interested in occupational health risk assessment and occupational exposure sampling strategies. He has carried out extensive research on several topics with the Institute of Occupational Medicine and University of Bradford UK. Ayman has a PhD in occupational health and he is a Registered Occupational Hygienist with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS, UK).
Problem-This study is focused on assessing the potential inhalation exposure of workers to hydrocarbon gases and vapors at the onshore terminal, distribution and refinery tank farms during manual tank gauging. Nine fatalities which were attributed to occupational exposures to hydrocarbon vapors and gases were reported by NIOSH thus a similar exposure assessment was conducted in this study.
Methods - A total of 101 personal breathing zone air samples were collected. Since the job task was of short duration, Tedlar bags connected to calibrated air sampling pumps were used to collect the required volume of air sample. The sampling procedure followed the NIOSH and OSHA sampling and analytical methods. Results - The results obtained were in range of (<0.2 -0.6 ppm) for benzene, (<0.2-1 ppm) for Ethylbenzene, (<0.5-2 ppm) for Toluene, (<0.5-2 ppm) for n-Hexane, (<1.2-4.1 ppm) for Xylene, (<0.28-0.38 ppm) for Propane and (<0.21-2.2 ppm) for Butane. The results showed that the exposure of outside workers during manual tank gauging to hydrocarbon vapors and gases were well below the pertinent Occupational Exposure Limits set by the OSHA.
Conclusion- This led to conclude that the potential occupational exposure risk exposure of operators to hydrocarbon gases and vapors at the downstream is considered a low risk. Proactive recommendations as measures include: workers shall wear required PPE and use multi-gas meter at all times, communicate the possible identified health hazards to workers, and follow standard operating procedures while performing manual tank gauging tasks and provide on the job training.
Management of Diesel Exhaust in Underground Mines
Inspector of Mines (Occupational Hygiene)
Mark Desira (COH MAIOH) is an Inspector of Mines - Occupational Hygiene, working in the northern region with the Queensland Mines In this role, Mark inspects, audits and mentors metalliferous mines and quarries in the management of health and safety with specific focus on occupational hygiene matters.
Mark has been working in occupational health and safety since 1995. Mark graduated as an analytical chemist and holds post graduate qualifications in occupational hygiene and mine ventilation.
Fritz Djukic (COH MAIOH) has over 25 years’ experience in the field of occupational hygiene, primarily in the resource sector and has held senior roles with consultancies, industry, and regulator.
In 2012, Fritz was appointed as an Inspector of Mines (Occupational Hygiene) with the role focused on assisting industry to manage exposures to physical, biological and chemical stressors including respirable dust, diesel exhaust, noise and hazardous chemicals.
The underground mine environment may contain a number of airborne contaminants that affect worker health. This includes diesel plant exhaust (gases and particulate matter) that is emitted into the underground work environment.The classification of diesel exhaust as a Class 1 ‘confirmed human carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) necessitates the management of the workers’ exposure to diesel exhaust. The Mines Inspectorate has undertaken a study of Queensland underground mines to evaluate the level of risk to mine workers and the effectiveness of differing management strategies for diesel exhaust. In the initial phase of this study, the monitoring results for mine worker exposure to diesel exhaust were collated for underground Similar Exposure Groups (SEGs). The characterisation of the exposure monitoring found that some SEGs (service crews and drilling operations) have higher exposure risk. In the second part of the study, the effectiveness of the control measures applicable to different SEGs were analysed to identify the optimal control strategies. This paper presents the finding that no single control measure is sufficient, and that a multifactorial approach incorporating complementary control measures is required to ensure the effective management of diesel exhaust in underground mines.
Concurrent Session 15 – ReBrand
Health risks associated with the use of water mist systems as a cooling intervention in the Pilbara region of Western Australia
Manager Development Services - Health and PhD student | Edith Cowan University
Edmore Masaka is the Manager for Health Services at the East Pilbara Shire and is also a part time PhD student with the ECU School of Medical and Health Sciences. Edmore has vast experience in Environmental Health and Occupational Hygiene spanning over 30 years and cutting across Africa and Australia. He also holds a B. Tech degree in Environmental Health and an MPH in Occupational Hygiene from Wits University in Johannesburg where he studied the prevalence of noise induced hearing loss in underground miners at a nickel mine in Zimbabwe. Edmore has previously worked as a Senior Environmental Health Officer at the Bulawayo City Council, Regional Health and Safety Manager at Delta Beverages in Zimbabwe and as an Occupational Hygiene Advisor at the Rio Tinto Alcan refinery in Gladstone, Queensland. Edmore holds a passion in water quality and embarked on a PhD study in 2016 trying to understand the health risks of using water misters to achieve ambient cooling by flash evaporation.
The exposure of people to opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens (OPPPs) such as Legionella spp., Mycobacterium spp. and Pseudomonas spp. in aerosolised water has been associated with cases of opportunistic infections (Wang 2013, Falkinham, Hilborn et al. 2015, Falkinham 2016). The design, maintenance and presence of certain environmental conditions such as elevated water temperatures, water stagnation, inadequate disinfection, low carbon concentration and colonisation by free living amoebae has already been found to favour the survival of these OPPPs (Falkinhan 2016). Water mist systems (WMS) that are used to cool public places by flash evaporation of tiny water aerosols are gaining prominence in hot climatic regions of Australia. Whilst this cheap and affordable cooling technology presents an appealing alternative to more conventional air conditioning systems, their potential to be colonised by OPPPs such as Legionella spp., Mycobacterium spp., Pseudomonas spp., Acanthaemoeba spp., and Naegleria fowleri has not been adequately studied. This study is investigating the characteristics of WMS capable of promoting their colonisation by these opportunistic pathogens. Biofilm, water and bioaerosol samples are being collected from 10 conveniently selected WMS during 3 sampling events spread over a 12-month period namely February, May and August. Both culture and ordinary polymerase chain reaction as well as quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods are being used to detect the presence of these opportunistic pathogens. The profile of waters used in these systems is being investigated to determine presence of conditions which have made OPPPs ubiquitous in similar engineered water systems. In addition to adding to the knowledge of the health risks posed by these WMS, the findings of this study will help inform the development of standards and a regulatory regime to manage this emerging public health risk which has the potential to impact several settings.
What is “biotoxin illness” and who is Richie Shoemaker? Report on the Parliamentary Inquiry into Biotoxin-related illnesses in Australia
Brad Prezant, MSPH, MBA, CIH, COH, CPE (CPE retired 2012) is an evidence-based public health scientist, occupational epidemiologist, and occupational hygienist. The majority of his career has been spent as a consultant in private practice; his University experience includes full-time employment and faculty status at several universities (University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA, and Massey University, Wellington, NZ), where he initiated as well as contributed to occupational health research. Mr. Prezant holds Masters Degrees in Public Health and Business Administration, both from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Mr Prezant is certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) in Comprehensive Practice & sub-specialty Indoor Air Quality, and the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists as a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH)
In the 1990s, a family physician saw numerous fishermen with profound CNS symptoms. They were exposed via inhalation of sea aerosols to biotoxins produced by a marine dinoflagellate, Pfiesteria. This physician - Dr. Richie Shoemaker - later saw patients reporting with similar symptoms as the fishermen - persons with exposure to water-damaged buildings.
From these experiences, he defined a syndrome - Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), starting with an exposure to a biotoxin (such as indoor dampness but could be other biotoxins), and resulting in disruption of multiple body systems, with profound debilitating health symptoms among affected individuals.
According to Dr. Shoemaker’s theory, following biotoxin exposure in genetically susceptible individuals (25% of the population), the innate immune system releases inflammatory molecules that signal the adaptive system, but the latter does not “see” these, and, with repetitive signalling, higher and higher levels of inflammation result. “Brain on fire” is one descriptor. Dr. Shoemaker has created a case definition and a multi-step precise treatment protocol. His theories are popular among both MDs and integrative medicine practitioners, with at least 15 health care providers in Australia using modified versions of his protocols.
Biotoxin-related Illnesses in Australia
A 73 page report was issued by this parliamentary committee in October 2018. Submissions were received from 142 individuals, professional organisations, physicians, and companies including the AIOH. The prevalence and geographic distribution of biotoxin-related illnesses in Australia, particularly related to water-damaged buildings, was addressed. The reports lists 7 recommendations.
Clandestine Drug Laboratories - Peroxide Remediation
Occupational Hygienist | WorkPlace Environment Consultants
Philip Turner has been an occupational hygienist for more than 20 years. His credentials include industrial chemistry and safety science qualifications, COH status with the AIOH, and CIH status with the American Board of Industrial Hygiene.
Clandestine drug laboratories can be found in houses, hotel rooms, caravans, factories, motor vehicles, bush settings and public land. The Australian Crime Commission has issued Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines in response. Contamination by methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA and other substances can be remediated by washing with alkaline detergents, washing with caustic, oxidation with activated hydrogen peroxide, use of shellac sealants, or demolition. The peroxide method uses an irritant (but not corrosive) chemical that is effective against high levels of exposure, requires less demolition (therefore reducing the cost), can be applied by fogging (to difficult locations such as inside air ducts), and can be safely used on many items of contents (in addition to building materials). This paper presents some hard-won remediation experience.
Concurrent Session 16 ReCalibrate
Measuring changes in hearing and ineffectiveness of hearing protection
Principal Occupational Audiologist | AIOHAudiology AustraliaANZ Society of Occupational Medicine
Glenn Johnson is Director and Principal Occupational Audiologist at The Hearing Company, a business specialising in assisting organisations to deliver quality occupational audiometry services.
Glenn oversees the delivery of diagnostic audiological services for large companies and has designed and presented occupational audiometry training courses to over 1,000 students in Australia and the region. As a consultant and trainer, Glenn has accumulated considerable knowledge of occupational audiometry practice and is passionate about empowering companies to manage the risk of workplace hearing loss. He lectures in occupational audiology to university Masters students and has contributed to revisions of workplace audiometry legislation and Australian Standards.
The requirement for companies to conduct health surveillance in hazardous workplaces has been long-standing. In WA and other jurisdictions, the introduction of new government requirements presents an opportunity to refocus our attention on monitoring a key sense – hearing.
A key element in any hearing surveillance program is to use effective tools to identify changes in hearing in noise-exposed employees. Regulations and Standards state that it’s not enough to simply conduct a hearing test, tick the box and file the results.
Effective monitoring of hearing requires planning, analysis and technical rigour; clearly an undertaking that should involve an Occupational Hygienist! We present for discussion several methods for measuring changes in hearing used in organisations around Australia. The presentation will offer Occupational Hygienists and other Occ Health professionals the opportunity to recalibrate their knowledge around the purpose and means of conducting effective workplace audiometry. The session will include examination of temporary and permanent threshold shift, differences in requirements between baseline and monitoring tests, pre-test noise exposure conditions and examples of best practice.
We also take a critical look at the key primary intervention used by many companies to prevent hearing loss: personal hearing protection. Recent data from a WA government investigation reveals that the use of PHP in mining operations is poor, and that manager perceptions that compliance is “good” are not supported by evidence.
Concurrent Session 17 ReCalibrate
Assessment of illicit drug contamination in residential environments and the critical role of Occupational Hygienists’
Paul Newell FRACI CCHEM
Paul is an Australian and internationally recognised expert in illicit drug manufacture and drug contamination and is a subject matter expert for the 'United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime' (UNODC). Paul is a co-author of the UNODC guidelines for the Safe Handling and Disposal of Chemicals from Illicit Drug Manufacture, and the principal author of the UNODC Illustrated Disposal Guide for the management and disposal of illicit drug related chemicals in remote and non-secure environments.Paul is also the principal author of the Australian national guidelines for the 'Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratory Sites' and is a contributing author to the Western Australian Clandestine Drug Laboratory Management Guidelines as well as a number of specialist operational safety and technical procedures for illicit drug related environments ranging from meth labs to hydroponic cannabis grow operations.
With the increasing community awareness and testing of residential properties for illicit drug contamination, more and more properties are being identified as being impacted by illicit drug contamination. This presentation will look at this trend and delve into the facts vs fiction when it comes to illicit drug contamination within residential environments, and the critical role of occupational hygienists in the assessment and management of this contamination. Presented by Paul Newell, a forensic chemist, nationally and internationally recognised illicit drug expert and principle author of the ‘Australian National guidelines for Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratory Sites’, Paul will discuss current and emerging drug trends, drug manufacture, the significance of drugs as residual contaminants and the importance of assessment by suitably qualified and experienced professionals.
Concurrent Session 18 ReBrand
Rebrand Your Professional LinkedIn
Marketing strategist | Wildfire Social Marketing
Jo Saunders is a leading international LinkedIn expert, marketing strategist and social media educator who has been helping people connect and communicate since the early 90s.
Known as Australia's LinkedIn Demystifier, Jo guides individuals and teams through the complexities of LinkedIn and social marketing tools, to communicate your brand message, showcase your talent, build thought leadership and relationships.
Jo is a certified trainer and has spoken on local, international and virtual stages, resulting in training thousands of people around the world. She ranked #4 on Klout’s LinkedIn expert list, was named one of the top 200 LinkedIn practitioners in the world and is the only Australian LinkedIn expert to be invited to speak at Social Media Marketing World, the biggest social media conference in the world.
•2019 Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers by TopRank Marketing,
•#2 LinkedIn Expert in Asia Pacific for 2018 by the Social Media Marketing Institute.
With seconds to capture attention, does your online presence create the right digital first impression? This overview is designed to show you the key features of LinkedIn to build your personal, professional and organisational brand. It can increase brand awareness and engagement within LinkedIn via your network and in Google search results.
With over 10 million users around Australia, your strategic partners, stakeholders, clients, and industry leaders are not only on LinkedIn, they are ready to engage. This 40 minute overview will cover;
1.Crafting a professional profile – the essential elements to a well set up profile
2.Connecting – finding the right people and good practice relationship building
3.Content - build brand awareness and thought leadership
Be sure to have the LinkedIn app on your mobile device to follow along.
Urban Lead in Dust Exposure – good work practices, leading to reduction of demolition workers’ lead in blood levels
I have over 18 years experience within the hazardous materials industry, initially specialising in asbestos. Over the last six years I have broadened my skills set into other occupational hygiene and environmental monitoring disciplines. I have held various positions within my field, such as senior hazmat consultant, occupational hygienist and project, technical, quality and laboratory manager. In a previously held position I was a senior project manager overseeing a team of twenty asbestos assessors, laboratory staff and occupational hygiene technicians. I have recently set up my own business, EHO Consulting Pty Ltd and am working on an ongoing project with NSW Fair Trading. My future aspirations are to provide a consultancy with a dynamic, friendly and vibrant environment for a motivated team to work and develop.
This presentation will present the outcomes from a lead dust remediation programme within an urban environment during demolition and remediation work. The study aims to identify any correlation between initial surface lead in dust levels, airborne inhalable lead in dust (Static samples, not exposure) and lead in blood samples. There is relative scarcity of biological exposure monitoring in an occupational setting and relative exposure levels to urban lead dust. This study hopes to demonstrate that exposure can be minimised as far as reasonably practicable by implementation of good work practices and worker awareness. The approach adopted includes an initial investigation into lead in dust contamination of the subject site, prior to works commencement. Control air monitoring during lead remediation within the works area and approximately 18 month’s of lead in blood samples, monitoring the demolition and remediation worker’s exposure levels. High concentrations of lead in dust is found throughout the Sydney metropolitan area due to its industrial history and vehicular / aviation fuel additives. As a result, most buildings and dwellings within the metro have highly accumulated lead in dust concentrations within their roof, floor and wall voids. Exposure to lead in dust often occurs during renovation or demolition works, with the demolition workers most at risk, followed by secondary exposure to other trades involved in the project. Implementation of good hygiene practices, such as availability of hygiene facilities and lead awareness training, as well as controlled removal of lead dust and the use of PPE, resulted in a general reduction of lead in blood for workers.