Workplace Respiratory Protection Factors during Asbestos Removal Operations

Numerous changes have been made to the French labour regulations in recent years relating to the prevention of risks of exposure to asbestos fibres for operators removing asbestos-containing materials. These changes refer to the method used to count fibres, the collective and personal protective devices to be used on these worksites, and the occupational exposure limit value, which was reduced to 10 f.L-1 on 2 July 2015. In this context, this study assessed the level of respiratory protection afforded by supplied-air respirators and powered air-purifying respirators by monitoring exposure for several operators on nine worksites. The levels of dustiness measured in personal samples taken outside masks showed significant evidence of potential exposure during removal of asbestos-containing plaster or sprayed asbestos, and when using abrasive blasting to treat asbestos-containing materials. For these tasks outside concentration regularly exceeds 25000 f.L-1. Measurements inside masks were generally low, under 10 f.L-1, except in some situations involving the removal of asbestos-containing plaster. This partial penetration of fibres inside masks could be due to the high loading linked to this material. The distributions of Workplace Protection Factors obtained for the two types of respiratory protective devices studied were broad, and the fifth percentile values equal to 236 and 104, respectively, for supplied-air respirators and powered air-purifying respirators. This work highlights once again the need to prioritise collective protection when seeking to prevent asbestos-related risks.

Authors: Chazelet S, Wild P, Silvente E, Eypert-Blaison C. ; Full Source: Annals of Work Exposure & Health. 2018 Mar 27. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxy013. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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