Motor vehicle repair bodyshop workers still at risk of asthma

Body shop workers are being encouraged to do more to protect themselves when paint spraying, as new research suggests that some are still putting themselves at risk of developing asthma.

A HSE report into the use of two-pack paints containing isocyanates has identified that there are still a number of areas of concern; HSE estimates that vehicle spray painters are 80 times more likely to develop occupational asthma than the average worker because they fail to take the correct precautions.

HSE found some sprayers and managers remain unaware of the link between breathing in isocyanates contained within the invisible spray mist, and developing occupational asthma.

Almost one in five managers did not know their booth clearance times. This, combined with the finding that many sprayers are still unaware of the dangers of invisible spray mist puts workers at risk of re-entering booths too soon, making them more vulnerable to breathing in isocyanates.

The study found that 85% do wear air-fed breathing apparatus; however, many continue to put their health at risk by lifting their visors to check the finish before the paint is dry, potentially exposing themselves to the isocyanate-containing mist.

The research also considered how factors such as size of business, working hours and bonus systems, health surveillance, personal protective equipment and training impact on health and safety practices in isocyanate paint use.

HSE’s key messages for safe working practices in the motor vehicle repair industry are:

  • Never spray outside a spray booth or room
  • Know clearance times
  • Sprayers should always wear air-fed breathing apparatus, and
  • Anyone exposed to isocyanates must have regular health surveillance.

 

For more information on the affects of occupational asthma in the motor vehicle industry, contact Andrew on 07870 777303

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