In the UK, many people are exposed to hazardous substances at work, such as chemicals, fumes and dusts. Workplace Exposure Limits, or “WELs”, are therefore put in place to help protect the health of workers by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). A Work Exposure Limit specifies the maximum concentration of a hazardous substance in the air, averaged over a specified period of time (referred to as a time-weighted average).
On 17th January 2020, EH40/2005 ‘Workplace exposure limits’ was revised by the HSE, to include the amendments made to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC).
The key changes to EH40/2005 are noted below:
- The WEL for Hardwood dusts has reduced from 5mg.m3 to 3mg.m3, and if hardwood dusts are mixed with other wood dusts, the new WEL will apply to all wood dusts present in that mixture.
- With regards to Chromium (VI) compounds, the WEL has reduced from 0.05mg/m3 to 0.010 mg/m3 (non-process-generated) and 0.025mg/m3 (process generated).
- Other substances that have reduced WELs include; refractory ceramic fibres, vinyl chloride monomer, Ethylene oxide, 1,2-Epoxypropane, Acrylamide, 2-Nitropropane, O-Toluidine, 1,3-Butadiene and Hydrazine.
- Whilst the WEL for RCS will remain at 0.1mg/m3, it has been re-classified as a carcinogenic, and under COSHH guidance you should reduce exposure to carcinogenic substances to as low as reasonably practicable.
- It is also important to note that new skin notations have been added for Ethylene oxide.
To read more or to purchase a copy of the revised EH40/2005 ‘Workplace exposure limits’, please visit the HSE website.
To ensure that you are compliant with these revisions, view our Dustex® and Ravex® equipment now.