Workplace Exposure Resources

Deciding how to approach breathing hazards at work - Do you need Respiratory Protection?

If you think there is a breathing hazard at work, get it checked out. It will save lives in the long run.  Click on the image to view brochure 

Welding, Molybdenum Trioxide and Indium Tin Oxide - Volume 118 

IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans 

Explainer: what is silicosis and why is this old lung disease making a comeback?

Silicosis is a group of occupational lung diseases caused by breathing in silica dust. It has been described since ancient times, when miners and stone cutters were exposed to dust containing this crystalline mineral.

Occupational Exposure and Environmental Release: The Case Study of Pouring TiO2 and Filler Materials for Paint Production

Pulmonary exposure to micro- and nanoscaled particles has been widely linked to adverse health effects and high concentrations of respirable particles are expected to occur within and around many industrial settings....

EH40/2005 (Fourth Edition 2020) - Workplace Exposure Limits

On 17 January 2020 HSE published a revised version of EH40/2005 ‘Workplace exposure limits’. This has been updated in order to implement amendments to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC) which introduces or revises 13 binding occupational exposure limit values for a number of carcinogenic substances.

Publication of new NI Workplace Exposure Limits

NEW AND revised Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) for thirteen substances listed in the European Commission’s Directive (EU) 2017/2398, which amends the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive 2004/37/EC, have been published.  

List of classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, IARC Monographs Volumes 1–127a

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists over 50 substances which are known or probable causes of workplace cancer, and over 100 other possible substances.

Biological monitoring for isocyanates

Biological monitoring for isocyanates is one of our most frequently requested assays.


Despite significant progress in the motor vehicle repair sector (due to an HSE awareness-raising intervention), isocyanates remain one of the leading causes of occupational asthma in Great Britain.


Biological monitoring is a simple way to check that exposure controls and working practices are effective. To explain the process, Kate Jones of the Biological Monitoring team at HSE has published a “How To Do It” article in Occupational Medicine.  In the article, Kate talks through the practicalities of undertaking sampling as well as providing case studies.   

HSE Issues Welding Warning

Construction companies have been encouraged to peruse the HSE’s revised guidance and states “To protect your workers’ health, you must ensure you have adequate controls in place to avoid or reduce exposure to welding fume. Employers should be using local exhaust ventilation where effective and provide suitable respiratory protective equipment where necessary to protect workers in the metal fabrication industry from inhaling fumes.”  Read more...

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Why Do Welders Need Protecting?

Welding is one of the most common activities carried out in industry. It is estimated that there are 190,000 workers in the UK who weld, comprising of around 73,000 professional, skilled welders and many other unskilled or semi-skilled welders who carry out welding as part of their job.


Occupational Cancer - IOSH report

Thousands of people die each year from cancer due to occupational causes. In Great Britain it is estimated that there are 13,500 cancer registrations (newly occurring cases of cancer) per year attributable to occupations. 

Lead: Don’t take it home

Are you exposed to lead at work? You may be if you make or fix batteries or radiators; make or paint ceramics; melt, cast or grind lead, brass or bronze; tear down or remodel houses, buildings or bridges; or work with scrap metal? 

Occupationa Cancer weder IOSH

Many welders are exposed unnecessarily to welding fume and gases that can damage their health.

The HSE estimates that exposure to welding fume causes more than 150 deaths due to cancer every year. Exposure to the fumes and gases can also cause other diseases, including: an increased susceptibility to pneumoniametal fume feverchronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes bronchitis and emphysemaasthma.  

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EU-OSHA Info Sheet - Carcinogens at Work

This info sheet is jointly produced by the six Roadmap partners. It provides concise practical advice on avoiding the risks from carcinogens in the workplace. Designed as a quick reference document for everyday use, it starts by defining occupational carcinogens and outlining the risks they pose. 

Carcinogens at work

HSE Release Revised Guidance on Exposure to Welding Fume (12th Nov 2019)

In February 2019 HSE issued a safety alert to inform industry of a change in relation to the control expectations for exposure to welding fume including that from mild steel welding.

This followed new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.


HSE has now revised its guidance.


The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health direct advice for welding to help make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled has been published, along with HSE’s web pages on how to manage exposure to welding fume.


In the new year, HSE inspectors will be visiting businesses across the country to check compliance with the law... click image to view more


53% of the work-related deaths in the EU are associated with exposure to carcinogens at work (RIVM 2016) 

Exposure threatens workers‘ overall health and quality of life, as well as participation in work and productivity levels. Not only does cancer result in individual suffering, the societal impact is large as well. The direct costs of carcinogen exposure at work across Europe are estimated at 2.4 billion Euros per year. Taking health care expenditure and productivity losses into account, this number is estimated as 4 to 7 billion Euros annually. 


NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2017-0059-3291

NIOSH health hazard evaluation report evaluating 3-D printer emissions and personal exposures at a manufacturing workplace.  


Isocyanate paint spraying - Safely managing spray booths and rooms (HSG276)

This guidance is aimed at vehicle body shop owners, managers and supervisors, their employees (particularly paint sprayers) and suppliers. It will also be useful to industries, other than motor vehicle repair (MVR), where there is spraying of isocyanate-containing paints and lacquers.  


Occupational Cancer - a workplace guide

The HSE has estimated there are around 13,500 new cases of cancer caused by work every year with over 8,000 deaths. This is likely to be an underestimate of the real number because there are many links between work and cancer that are still only suspected but not yet proven. The HSE figures only list those where there is a proven or probable link. click image to read the full guide...


Safety in isocyanate paint spraying (INDG388(Rev2))

This leaflet is mainly aimed at owners, managers and supervisors of vehicle bodyshops and also provides useful information for employees. It outlines the risks in using isocyanate paints (also known as 2K, two-pack or polyurethane paints) in motor vehicle repair and how you can minimise them by taking the right precautions.  


The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) Approved Code of Practice and guidance (L5)

This book contains the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) (COSHH) and covers all substances to which the Regulations apply.  


Working with solvents - A guide to safe working practices (INDG273(Rev1))

This leaflet is aimed at employees who are exposed to solvents at work. It gives important advice about the precautions that employees and their employers should take to avoid risks to the health of workers who use solvents and products that contain solvents.  


Working with substances hazardous to health - A brief guide to COSHH (INDG136(Rev5))

This leaflet describes how to control hazardous substances at work, so they do not cause ill health. It will help you understand what you need to do to comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended) which apply to the way you work with these substances.  


EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits

This latest version of EH40 has been updated to include new and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs) introduced by the 4th Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELV) Directive. It will guide those responsible for controlling exposure to hazardous substances at work.  


Biological monitoring in the workplace (INDG245)

Information for employees on biological monitoring in the workplace and the application to chemical exposure.  Click image to view...

Biological monitoring in the workplace - A guide to its practical application to chemical exposure (HSG167)

This guide is for occupational hygienists, occupational health professionals and managers who are considering setting up and/or managing a biological monitoring programme for chemical exposure in the workplace. It may also be helpful to employee health and safety representatives.  


HSE shine a light on work-related lung disease 

Terry, a former stone mason from Liverpool, is suffering from work-related silicosis. Terry and his wife Christine talk to HSE's Chief Medical Advisor Professor David Fishwick about the impact this disease has had on their lives.


Welding Robots On The Rise


Robotic welding provides manufacturers with several competitive advantages. Most importantly, it makes them more productive while generating more consistent, higher quality welds and reducing waste.  


New guidance on occupational exposure limits

ECHA has published guidance for preparing a scientific report for health based exposure limits and occupational exposure limits (OELs) at the workplace. It aligns the methodologies in REACH and occupational health and safety legislation to establish safe levels of exposure to chemicals at the workplace. The document takes the findings of the ECHA/RAC – SCOEL joint task force into account.

It is a follow-up of the REACH review, improving the interface between REACH and occupational health and safety legislation. As of 2019, ECHA has started providing recommendations for occupational exposure limits (OELs) that protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals. 

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ECHA proposes 18 substances for authorisation

Helsinki, 1 October 2019 – ECHA's ninth recommendation to the European Commission to prioritise substances of very high concern for authorisation includes 18 substances. Thirteen of these substances are toxic for reproduction, of which one has also endocrine disrupting properties. The other substances are an endocrine disruptor, a carcinogen, a very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substance and two respiratory sensitisers.

The substances have been prioritised from the Candidate List because of their intrinsic properties in combination with high volume and widespread uses, which may pose a threat to human health or the environment. Some of these substances are currently not used in the EU but could replace other substances recommended for the Authorisation List (Annex XIV). Their inclusion should avoid regrettable substitution.  

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Control of diesel engine exhaust emissions in the workplace (HSG187)

This guidance provides practical advice to employers and self-employed people on how to control exposure to diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEEs) in the workplace, and so protect the health of employees and others who may be exposed. Managers, supervisors, employees, health and safety professionals, safety representatives and trade union representatives will also find this guidance useful. 


Occupational Lung Disease in Great Britain - published Oct 2018 (HSE)

Estimates of self-reported “breathing or lung problems” according to the Labour Force Survey currently show: around 20,000 new cases each year; 43,000 new and long-standing cases among those who worked in the previous year, and 146,000 among those who have ever worked. Occupational lung diseases typically have a long latency (they take a long time to develop following exposure to the agent that caused them). Therefore, current deaths reflect the effect of past working conditions.   

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Smoke signals – why occupational health needs to take ‘diathermy smoke plume’ seriously

It’s not well known, but diathermy smoke plume is a toxic smoke created during procedures such as electrocautery, laser surgery or the use of ultrasonic scalpels, and more than half a million healthcare professionals are exposed to it every year. 


RR1149 - Monitoring metal working fluid mist using particle counters: summary of a technical workshop

This report summarises a knowledge sharing workshop on the use of particle monitors as an alternative to monitoring mist.  Read the report

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