Is the New EN689 a Better Standard to Test Compliance With Occupational Exposure Limits in the Workplace?


Objective: To evaluate the performance of three measurement strategies to test compliance with occupational exposure limits of similarly exposed groups (SEGs): the old and new versions of EN689, and the BOHS-NVvA guidance on measuring compliance.

Methods: Respirable dust exposures concentrations (n = 1383) measured within the member companies of IMA-Europe were used to compare compliance decisions between the three measurement strategies. A total of 210 SEGs of which 158 with repeated measurements were analysed. An R studio OHcomplianceStrategies package was created for the purpose.

Results: The old EN689 strategy resulted in the highest number of compliant SEGs in the preliminary tests and statistical test (49-52% and 83%) with lower percentages of compliance with the new EN689 standard (32-44% and 71%). The percentage of non-compliant SEGs was relatively similar between the old and new EN689 for the preliminary tests (1-12% versus 6-11%). However, the new EN689 declared almost twofold more SEGs non-compliant when applying the statistical test (29% versus 17%). The BOHS-NVvA individual test showed results in between the 26% non-compliant SEGs.

Conclusion: This study showed differences in compliance decisions between the old and new EN689, with the new EN689 being considerably more stringent and resulting in more non-compliant SEGs.

Authors: Antonio D’Errico, Remko Houba, Hans Kromhout
; Full Source: Annals of work exposures and health 2021 Dec 2;wxab111. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxab111.