Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 employers have a statutory duty to assess the risks to worker health from chemicals in the workplace and to lower the risk so far as reasonably practicable. In other words, employers must make sure that worker`s exposure to chemicals is either prevented, or properly controlled. To do this it may be necessary to measure worker’s chemical exposure by analyzing the amounts of chemical, (or by-products of what the chemical is broken down into) that has entered the body due to chemical exposure in the workplace.
Biological monitoring involves obtaining a sample of the worker`s breath, urine or blood to measure the concentration of chemical within the body. The types of samples used depends largely on how a particular chemical that a person has been exposed to is processed by the body. Biological monitoring is often used together with environmental air monitoring.
Ways that chemicals may enter your body include:
- by breathing them in;
- by absorbing them through the skin; or
- by swallowing them. This can happen if your hands become contaminated at work and you do not wash them before eating, drinking or smoking.
- by Injection
Examples of substances which can be tested for:
Solvents i.e Dichloromethane
The Health and Work Consultancy biological monitoring includes:
Provision of advice on suitable Biological Monitoring Techniques for the chemicals which your employees are exposed
- Biological Sample Collection, i.e. Blood, urine, breath
- Laboratory testing at the Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton.
- Confidential data management and reporting, with employee consent
- Worker education at time of test
- Permanently retained records (40 years)
Further sources of information
- Health and Safety Executive guide to Biological monitoring in the workplace
- Health and Safety Executive guidance on Biological Monitoring for isocyanates - P47
- Health and Safety Executive guidance note G409 - Exposure measurement: Air Sampling
If you have any questions about Occupational skin assessments or any other occupational health services for your business in South Wales or the South of England, don't hesitate to call us on 02920 682028 or Contact us.