What do occupational hygienists really know about skin exposure?

Sharyn Gaskin, Naomi Currie, John W. Cherrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article describes responses to a questionnaire on current work practices and understanding of the management of dermal exposure issues in the workplace from members of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH). The survey comprised questions in four key areas: employment demographics, experience managing dermal exposure, knowledge of dermal exposure management, and opinions on professional knowledge gaps and preferred training methods. The survey was disseminated in 2016 in the UK and 2018 in Australia, with 116 and 114 responses from each jurisdiction, respectively. The majority of respondents had personally evaluated the risks of dermal exposure to chemicals (BOHS 92%; AIOH 86%), albeit infrequently (less than a few times per year). Occupational Hygienists reportedly adopted a range of strategies to control dermal exposure problems, including chemical elimination/substitution (BOHS 68%; AIOH 68%), changing work practices (BOHS 79%; AIOH 75%), and education (BOHS 77%; AIOH 83%). The use of gloves or other personal protective equipment remained the most commonly cited exposure control measure (BOHS 99%; AIOH 97%). While there appeared to be a good understanding of common dermal exposure workplace scenarios (e.g. isocyanate exposure in motor vehicle repair, solvent exposure during spray painting), the overwhelming majority of respondents wished to find out more about assessing the risks from dermal exposure to chemicals (BOHS 89%; AIOH 88%). The outcomes suggest ways to increase the competence of professionals in dealing with dermal exposure matters in the workplace, through mechanisms such as web-based guidance, interactive educational materials and webinars, as well as workshops and seminars.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Early online date15 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2020

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