Motor garage workers should do more to guard against asthma
Posted by Ben Alexander.
Bodyshop workers should do more to protect themselves against the risk of asthma while carrying out work like paint spraying, as a study indicates some are putting themselves at risk.
A report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the use of paints containing isocyanates has revealed that, although standards have improved significantly recently, there is still work to be done.
The HSE thinks that spray painters are a staggering 80 times more likely to develop occupational asthma than the average worker in the UK simply because of a lack of taking proper safeguards.
The study, which took in site visits to 30 motor body shops and 500 phone surveys, found that some sprayers and managers have little knowledge of the connection between breathing in isocyanates contained within spray mist (which is invisible), and developing occupational asthma.
However, the study did find that 85 per cent of spray workers wear breathing apparatus. But many still risk their health by lifting visors on the equipment to check their work whilst it is in progress, another potential way of exposing themselves to isocyanate-containing mist.
Louise Rice, from the HSE, said: "We're encouraged to see that body shop managers and sprayers are generally much more aware of the risks of isocyanates and what they need to do to protect themselves, but it is worrying that the message is still not getting through to all of them."
Motor garages could also consider the installation of health and safety signage to alert workers to the dangers, and offer guidance on what precautions to take.
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