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Beers H.A.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Risk, Reliability and Safety: Innovating Theory and Practice - Proceedings of the 26th European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2016 | Year: 2017

A decade ago, horizon scanning intelligence from HSE’s Foresight Centre at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) indicated that, whilst employment patterns were changing, the full-time permanent job remained the foundation of the UK labour market. © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, London.


Gant S.E.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Flow, Turbulence and Combustion | Year: 2010

Large-Eddy Simulation (LES), Detached-Eddy Simulation (DES) and Scale-Adaptive Simulation (SAS) are increasingly being used as engineering tools to predict the behaviour of complex industrial flows. Often the flows studied have not been examined previously and the required grid resolution is unknown. Industrial users studying these flows tend to be using commercial CFD codes and do not usually have access to high-performance computing facilities. Due to the significant computing times required, it is difficult to undertake systematic grid-dependence studies. There is therefore a risk that LES, DES and SAS will be performed using overly coarse grids which may lead to unreliable predictions. The present work surveys a number of practical techniques that provide a means of assessing the quality of the grid resolution in large-eddy simulations and related approaches. To examine the usefulness of these techniques, a gas release in a ventilated room is examined using DES and SAS. The grid resolution measures indicate that overall the grids used are relatively coarse. Both DES and SAS model predictions are found to be in poor agreement with experimental data compared to steady and unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) results using the SST model. The SAS model also shows the greatest grid sensitivity of the four models tested. The work highlights the need for grid-dependence studies and the potential problems of using coarse grids. © 2009 U.K. Health & Safety Laboratory (an Agency of the Health & Safety Executive).


Frost G.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2013

Background:The Great Britain (GB) Asbestos Survey is a prospective cohort of asbestos workers in GB. The objective of this study was to investigate determinants of mesothelioma latency, paying particular attention to indicators of intensity of asbestos exposure such as occupation, sex, and presence of asbestosis.Methods:The analysis included members of the cohort who died with mesothelioma between 1978 and 2005. The primary outcome was the latency period defined as the time from first occupational exposure to asbestos to death with mesothelioma. Generalised gamma accelerated failure-time models were used to estimate time ratios (TRs).Results:After excluding missing data, there were 614 workers who died with mesothelioma between 1978 and 2005. Total follow-up time was 9280 person-years, with a median latency of 22.8 years (95% confidence interval (CI) 16.0-27.2 years). In the fully adjusted model, latency was around 29% longer for females compared with males (TR=1.29, 95% CI=1.18-1.42), and 5% shorter for those who died with asbestosis compared with those who did not (TR=0.95, 95% CI=0.91-0.99). There was no evidence of an association between latency and occupation.Conclusion:This study did not find sufficient evidence that greater intensity asbestos exposures would lead to shorter mesothelioma latencies. © 2013 Cancer Research UK.


Cocker J.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Annals of Occupational Hygiene | Year: 2011

Isocyanates are reactive chemicals and thousands of workers may be exposed to them during their manufacture and use in a wide range of products. They are classed as sensitizers and are a major cause of occupational asthma in the UK. Workplace exposure limits are low and control of exposure often depends on personal respiratory protection. Biological monitoring is increasingly used to assess exposure and the efficacy of control measures, including the behavioural aspects of controls. Biological monitoring methods are available for the most common isocyanates hexamethylene diisocyanate, toluene diisocyanate, isophorone diisocyanate, and methylenediphenyl diisocyanate. They are based on the analysis of hexamethylene diamine, toluene diamine, isopherone diamine, and methylenediamine released after hydrolysis of isocyanate-protein adducts in urine or blood. Volunteer and occupational studies show good correlations between inhalation exposure to isocyanate monomers and isocyanate-derived diamines in urine or blood. However, occupational exposure to isocyanates is often to a mixture of monomers and oligomers so there is some uncertainty comparing biological monitoring results with airborne exposure to 'total NCO'. Nevertheless, there is a substantial body of work demonstrating the utility of biological monitoring as a tool to assess exposure and the efficacy of controls, including how they are used in practice. Non-health-based biological monitoring guidance values are available to help target when and where further action is required. Occupational hygienists will need to use their knowledge and experience to determine the relative contributions of different routes of exposure and how controls can be improved to reduced the risk of ill health. © The Author 2010.


Makison Booth C.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Journal of Infection Prevention | Year: 2014

Infectious diseases such as norovirus can induce emesis (vomiting), which can be of a projectile nature. Although studies have been carried out on transmission, prevalence and decontamination of such micro-organisms within various environments, little is known about the extent to which the surrounding environment is contaminated when an individual vomits. This is an important consideration for infection control purposes. The aim of this study was to develop a simulated vomiting system (Vomiting Larry) to be used for assessing the extent to which projected fluid can contaminate the environment. Vomiting Larry was set up within a Controlled Atmosphere Chamber (CAC) facility at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL). Simulated vomiting was undertaken using water as a vomitus substitute containing a fluorescent marker enabling small splashes, ordinarily missed, to be visualised using UV lighting. Experiments revealed that splashes and droplets produced during an episode of projectile vomiting can travel great distances (>3 m forward spread and 2.6 m lateral spread). The research highlighted that small droplets can be hard to see and therefore cleaning all contaminated surfaces is difficult to achieve. Evidence from this study suggests that areas of at least 7.8 m2 should be decontaminated following an episode of projectile vomiting. © The Author(s) 2014.


Holbrow P.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Process Safety and Environmental Protection | Year: 2013

Dust explosion venting is an established method of protecting against damaging explosion over-pressures, and guidance is available for many industrial situations. However, there is a need to: (a) establish the venting requirements of small vessels and whether current guidance and predictions in BS EN 14491:2006 need revising, and (b) improve understanding of the potential and limitations of flameless venting. This paper describes initial results from an ongoing programme of research. Small vessel tests are carried out using cornflour and wood dust on: a commercial sieve unit, a commercial cyclone, and a 0.5 m3 test vessel with explosion-relief openings without vent covers. Initial 0.5 m3 vessel tests give reduced explosion pressures that are lower than those predicted. This is because the predicted pressures are based on openings with vent covers. The reduced explosion pressures measured in the sieve unit and the cyclone are also less than predicted: the reasons are discussed. Flameless vesting tests are carried out using cornflour and wheat flour on a commercial flame arrestor unit. Initial tests demonstrate benefits, particularly a high level of flame extinguishment, but a problem of reduced venting efficiency compared to conventional venting. These initial results indicate that further research is needed. © 2012 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Forder J.A.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Annals of Occupational Hygiene | Year: 2014

This article describes a performance assessment of three optical methods, a Magee Scientific OT21 Transmissometer, a Hach-Lange Microcolor II difference gloss meter, and a combination of an office scanner with Adobe Photoshop software. The optical methods measure filter staining as a proxy for elemental carbon in diesel exhaust particulate (DEP) exposure assessment and the suitability of each as a replacement for the existing Bosch meter optical method. Filters loaded with DEP were produced from air in a non-coal mine and the exhaust gases from a mobile crane. These were measured with each apparatus and then by combustion to obtain a reference elemental carbon value. The results from each apparatus were then plotted against both the Bosch number and reference elemental carbon values. The equations of the best fit lines for these plots were derived, and these gave functions for elemental carbon and Bosch number from the output of each new optical method. For each optical method, the range of DEP loadings which can be measured has been determined, and conversion equations for elemental carbon and Bosch number have been obtained. All three optical methods studied will effectively quantify blackness as a measure of elemental carbon. Of these the Magee Scientific OT21 transmissometer has the best performance. The Microcolor II and scanner/photoshop methods will in addition allow conversion to Bosch number which may be useful if historical Bosch data are available and functions for this are described. The scanner/photoshop method demonstrates a technique to obtain measurements of DEP exposure without the need to purchase specialized instrumentation. © 2014 The Author 2014.


Frost G.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Occupational medicine (Oxford, England) | Year: 2011

Although the acute effects of pesticides in humans are well known, uncertainty still exists about the health effects of chronic low-level exposure to pesticides. To compare mortality and cancer incidence experienced by a cohort of British pesticide users to that of the Great Britain (GB) population. The Pesticide Users Health Study (PUHS) comprises users of agricultural pesticides who have Certificates of Competence under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986. Participants were followed up between 1987 and 2004 (cancer incidence) or 2005 (mortality). Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were estimated for outcomes of interest identified from the literature. Altogether, 62,960 pesticide users were followed up for 829,709 person-years (to 31 December 2005). Most participants were male (94%) and based in England (86%). All-cause mortality was lower for both men [SMR 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.55-0.60] and women (SMR 0.71, 95% CI 0.52-0.98) compared to the GB population. Mortality and incidence were below those expected for all cancers combined among men (SMR 0.71, 95% CI 0.66-0.77; SIR 0.85, 95% CI 0.81-0.90), particularly for cancers of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx, digestive organs and respiratory system. The incidence of testicular cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer and multiple myeloma were above expected. Mortality from injury by machinery was significantly above expected for men (SMR 4.21, 95% CI 2.11-8.42). This study suggests that pesticide users in the PUHS are generally healthier than the national population but may have excesses of non-melanoma skin cancer, testicular cancer and multiple myeloma.


Bradshaw L.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Occupational medicine (Oxford, England) | Year: 2011

Detailed studies of current symptoms reported by hairdressers and of the training received to reduce the health risks associated with this work are uncommon. To document current levels of self-reported health problems in hairdressers, compared to non-hairdressing controls. An interviewer-led questionnaire recording demographic information, work history, health training levels and the presence of self-reported respiratory, skin, musculoskeletal and non-specific symptoms was administered. In total, 147 hairdressers, 86% of whom were female (median age 27 years) and 67 non-hairdressing controls, all female (median age 38 years) were recruited. Following adjustment for age, smoking and years worked, hairdressers reported significantly higher levels of musculoskeletal problems, including work-related shoulder pain (OR 11.6, 95% CI 2.4-55.4), work-related wrist and hand pain (2.8, 1.1-7.6), work-related upper back pain (3.8, 1.0-14.9), work-related lower back pain (4.9, 1.5-15.9) and work-related leg/foot pain (31.0, 3.8-267.4). The frequency of self-reported asthma was similar in both groups (hairdressers 16%, controls 17%) as was chest tightness and wheeze. Work-related cough was significantly more frequently reported in hairdressers than in controls (13.2, 1.3-131.5). While hairdresser training was commonplace, such training did not always appear to have resulted in awareness of potential workplace health risks. This study identified frequently reported musculoskeletal, skin and respiratory symptoms in hairdressers. This points to a need to develop training that not only deals with risk assessment but also informs hairdressers about the health risks of their work.


Cocker J.,UK Health and Safety Laboratory
Occupational medicine (Oxford, England) | Year: 2011

Biological monitoring (BM) aids exposure assessment but where this is based on incomplete collections of single urine voiding measurement of creatinine is often used to adjust analyte concentrations for the effects of fluid balance. To provide reference data on creatinine concentrations in urine samples from a population of UK workers. Urine samples sent to the Health and Safety Laboratory were analysed for creatinine by an automated kinetic Jaffe technique using alkaline picric acid and the results stored in a database. Statistical analysis of the data used linear mixed effects models on the natural log-transformed data. Between 1996 and 2007, the laboratory analysed 49 506 urine samples from 20 433 UK adult workers. In the 42 817 samples where gender was known, 93% were from men and 7% were from women. The overall mean and median creatinine concentrations were both 12 mmol/l corresponding to 1.36 g/l. The mean (13 mmol/l) and median (12 mmol/l) creatinine concentrations for men were higher than those (9 and 10 mmol/l, respectively) for women. Gender differences in creatinine concentrations and the range of 0.3-3.0 g/l (2.653 and 26.53 mmol/l) traditionally used for confirming acceptability of urine samples mean that 2.5% of samples from male and 9% from female workers were flagged as 'low creatinine' and required a repeat sample. In addition, care should be taken interpreting any apparent gender differences in BM results to ensure that they are due to exposure and not an artefact of creatinine adjustment.

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