Exposure Magazine | Issue 1 2021

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Hello all,, It is that time again where we ask you about how you want to make a different to the profession of occupational hygiene. As well as making the decision to expand the board to accommodate our ambitious new 5-year strategy, we’re excited to announce that our FOH committee have also published their first 5-year plan. We’re now asking you to nominate yourself for either the newly available board position or for the prestigious role of President-Elect. If either of these opportunities interest you, turn to page 8.

3 Welcome 4 President’s Column 5 CEO's Column 7 Annals of Work Exposures and Health Performance 2020 - by Rachael Jones 5 CEO's Column 8 COVER FEATURE: BOHS NEEDS YOU! - by Amy Harvey Board & Committee Member Nominations

Also in this issue, we introduce you to our aforementioned 5-year strategy on page 11 and urge you to keep an eye on our social media and website for further updates. We catch up with Richard Pomeroy in our Meet the Member section on page 12. And on page 18, we have from the AIHA a very interesting piece on the ethics of analysis given the way we communicate and are able to store information in the modern age. There is so much more to discover in this issue, so have a flip through and let us know what you think via our survey, linked on the front cover and below.

11 Our Five Year Strategy 12 Meet the member - Richard Pomeroy 13 HSE’s Research Portfolio / TOTUM Card Membership Benefits

Lastly, as we approach the light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel, we want to say thank you for everyone’s individual efforts to keep our industry going in the toughest of times.

14 Asthma, Isocyanates and The Group Authority Licence 16 Work, Worklessness and Wellbeing – COVID-19 and Beyond

Until the next issue! The BOHS Team

18 Ethics of Analysis - by Alan Leibowitz 20 Sustainable Occupational Health: Developments in Managing Health Risk in Construction - by Kelvin Williams



22 BOHS Logo Use Protocol


@BOHS Video



BOHS Head Office 5/6 Melbourne Business Court, Millennium Way, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8LZ, UK T: + 44 (0) 1332 298101 | membership@bohs.org | www.bohs.org


The views expressed in this issue are not necessarily those of BOHS Board


EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS




After chess players have made their first move there are 400 possible positions on the board, after two moves 72,084 positions, after three moves over 9 million positions and after four moves over 288 billion different positions.

I’ve read that’s one for every star in the galaxy, give or take (“Weird Maths” – David Darling, Agnijo Banerjee).

and a carefully worded report may well determine whether someone gets to enjoy a long and healthy retirement.

Thankfully, all the moves you could make from a position are in plain sight on the board, nothing is hidden. All you have to do is think through the possible positions and select the optimal move. It’s different with a game of cards. While you can see what’s on the table you don’t know your opponent’s hand - and there may be several folk in the game. In this case, you should be resigned to losing a few hands but hope that on average your decisions will see you through. Experience and superior knowledge is key, not only to make an educated guess on how best to play your cards, but also to discern a bluff.

Is it enough to “stick with the science”? I guess that depends on the kind of science you’re talking about and how far you think you should go to fulfil your remit to put worker health protection as top priority.Some of us will recall the “ sick building syndrome” trend many years ago. I am not denying the issue is of genuine concern, but in my daily grind investigating these cases (usually requested as an indoor air quality investigation) I began to tot up the number of studies I was conducting where staff were reporting health effects yet there was nothing in my data to suggest their environment was the problem.

Any assessment involving people, scientific or otherwise (occupational hygiene included), is more like a card game. A hygienist will sooner or later encounter the “you should be here when” comment, or alternatively the “we’ve just got a couple of awkward ones who are always complaining” dismissal of staff concerns. Hidden agendas abound and the stakes are high. I suggest this is a particularly important area for consultancy practice, where the opportunities to get a rounded view of what happens when you’re not there can be very limited. Keen observation

On a handful of occasions, I came across quite extreme reactions (even a collapse) attributed to a problem with an office environment. On advice, I took to issuing questionnaires to record staff perceptions of their workplace, I included control groups as best I could. The results were instructive. I subsequently took time to better acquaint myself with the psycho-social factors affecting perceptions of health and wellbeing at work.


Resolving these issues can be a very delicate matter. Nobody wants to hear

their ill health may have a psychological or emotional cause and you have no idea what hand people have been dealt in life. A popular work on the subject is “It’s All in Your Head. True Stories of Imaginary Illness”, by the consultant neurologist Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan. I had two key take-aways from the book - the illness is real, and the illness serves a purpose. The first point I must acknowledge with compassion. The second point might be outside my boundaries, but as a hygienist I can certainly give other professionals traction on getting to the heart of the matter. The people we encounter as we go about our investigations will typically be keeping a few cards close to their chest. If we can encourage people to reveal their hand, we may usefully discover all sorts of hidden barriers to making a workplace healthier a strong set of soft skills would be the ace up your sleeve.

Any assessment involving people, scientific or otherwise (occupational hygiene included), is more like a card game. A hygienist will sooner or later encounter the “you should be here when”




Over the last week, I have been reflecting on some big changes afoot and wondering to myself what the role of BOHS will be in relation to these major challenges. Do our new strategic aims enable us to focus on the right things for the future? I reflected on some key issues for the future and found myself asking questions. Attitudes to health protection in the workplace Necessarily, the pandemic has placed worker health protection front and centre for many workplaces. Many managers probably saw the workplace risk assessment as something about slips and trips which was the province of the “fun police”, driven by ambulance-chasing lawyers. Now it is directly crucial to their very economic survival and is a reason why a person may or may not feel safe enough to turn up for work. In other sectors it probably shines a spotlight on a cavalier disregard for the health of workers. Meat-processing factories, for a long time the province of gang or slave labour, where workers live in appalling conditions and are bussed to work long shifts with non-existent work-place health protection erupt into visibility as COVID-19 hotspots. Garment sweatshops, gig-based security firms, cleaning,

Amidst the tragedy and momentousness of the pandemic, change is afoot. These are changes that can fundamentally influence the course of occupational hygiene and its role in British Society. Nobody has a crystal ball, yet at the same time, we are in a position to attempt to influence the path of the future for health in the workplace.

delivery and social care providers have formed the hidden underbelly of our ondemand economy. When the particles settle, the huge cost to public health will be counted. It is a cost which even someone, like me, who has worked on modern slavery for years, never saw coming. Will the tapering end of the pandemic see a form of health risk exhaustion and a view that, having been through a pandemic, other risks are somehow diminished and distanced? Will the appalling hygiene in the gang and slave sector slip back out of sight, never to be tackled? What can and should the Chartered Society for worker health protection in response to these challenges? Economic effects of the pandemic. Most of us already know of people whose businesses and livelihoods have been blighted by the economic impact of the pandemic. Training and workers protection have traditionally been the subject of cut corners in times of economic depression. Faced with no job or an unhealthy working environment, many (particularly those from low income and immigrant backgrounds) will settle for any work they can get. By contrast, the pandemic has also invested a huge amount in understanding

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

health risk and the real and present cost to Society of not investing in protection. Is there a way we can mobilise the understanding of the role of prevention and good controls in saving money as well as lives? Can we reverse the implicit narrative which will be embedded in the heads of many that occupational health issues are a subset of public health? The carbon-neutral economy. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the fundamental changes to behaviour that the climate crisis requires can be achieved, but also to cash in on it. Some of these behaviours are likely to be incentivised to continue beyond the pandemic. Exactly what will be the legacy post-COVID will be interesting. Will BREAMM and passive construction with its minimal natural air ventilation be re-thought? Will the focus turn to electric cars, rather than mass public transport and buses? continued

Can we reverse the implicit narrative which will be embedded in the heads of many that occupational health issues are a subset of public health?


CEO’S COLUMN The legal obligation that binds governments to ensure that they meet the minimum European standards of protection are no longer in place and the legal right of an individual to enforce the right to those standards, even if the government have failed to secure them in law is also gone.

Conversely, will the green economy carry with it standards for worker health protection that value human life as much as biodiversity? I note from personal experience that the building and planning process imposes more protection for nesting birds than it does for the protection of the construction workers who may be subject to cold thermal exposure because construction needs to take place out of the nesting season. It embodies more concern for the potential user of a building and wildlife in the consideration of contaminated land than the risks to the groundworkers who have to manage it. Can we enlist concern for human health as part of an agenda for sustainable development?

aim to ensure the health and safety of building users. This also provides an opportunity potentially to build occupational hygiene considerations into the fabric of design and procurement choices.

Post-Grenfell construction


The construction industry and its regulation is already in a process of redesign. Products and process standards are under scrutiny and decisions are already being made which

Our departure from Europe and European regulations and directives presents a fundamental shift in the responsibilities of government and the rights of individuals in the occupational hygiene space.

In the same way that architects can draw in calculations of carbon dioxide and energy efficiency into BIM systems like Revit, are there not opportunities to do the same in terms of the silica dust saved by using different dimensions or materials etc? Materials choices require calculations of their inherent energy efficiency, but considerations of the health risks posed by materials to those handling them as well. The costs and risks and control measures might well be planned in at the design stage.

This may seem like the sort of thing a public law professor might say, but in practical terms the power of directives to force recalcitrant governments to secure the legal protection of exposure standards was one of the major driving influences in protecting us all from contaminated water in the early nineties and established the responsibility of the State to actually protect lives. In the absence of this constitutional control it will be political and public pressure, as well as the lottery of the English civil courts that will become the driver of standards. In practical terms, even such valuable UK innovations as COSHH fall to potential change by simple ministerial order because they fall under the Henry VIII powers to amend anything which gives effect to European law.

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With the passage of the year 2020, I am, as I am sure most of you are, looking forward to brighter days ahead in which I am able to share a meal with colleagues, friends and family. Nonetheless, there were many achievements in 2020 worth celebrating, including at the Annals. The Annals name change refined the journal’s scope, and the impact is being revealed. While exposure assessment studies remain the most common type of studies published in 2020 (42%), the contribution of epidemiology studies increased by 50% to 18%. The Journal Impact Factor, which reflects the frequency at which published articles are cited in other studies, increased from 1.713 to 1.960, and the Annals moved up 45 ranks among Public, Environmental and Occupational Health journals. These are two markers of the positive impact of the Annals on the scientific community. Furthermore, 2020 saw a huge increase in usage of the journal, with average monthly downloads of 90,764 (155% increase on 2019) and over a million downloads in total for the year. In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, many readers turned to the journal for its research highlighting the crucial role of occupational hygiene in protecting the health of workers, and particularly in relation to protection from viruses. The Annals regularly adds to its collection of COVID 19: Articles of Relevance, with new papers fast-tracked to publication and made freely available, in line with Oxford Journals’ current COVID 19 policy. In 2020, the Annals received a total of 343 submissions, a 37% increase over 2019. Among these, 61 (18%) submissions were related to COVID 19, which means the pandemic did not

explain all of the increase in submissions. The editorial team and reviewers provide critical labor to ensure that submissions receive fair, robust critique. The editorial team coordinated collection of 554 peer reviews from 334 individuals – a 19% increase in reviews, but only a 9% increase in individual reviewers. Over the past six months, the average (median) time to a first decision was 35.6 (33) days, while time to reach a final decision (after revision and re-review) was 77.7 (42) days. Efforts in 2021 will include increasing the number of individuals that engage in the review process, and if you are interested in participating, please get in touch. While Issue 2 of the Annals, published in February, is devoted to work presented at the 8th Occupational and Environmental Exposure of the Skin to Chemicals Conference, Issue 3 returns to our regular format. I want to draw your attention to an article by Dr. Peter Smith and colleagues that found that provision of workplace infection control procedures and personal protective equipment was associated with lower prevalence of anxiety and pressive symptoms; yet a substantial proportion of site-based workers in non-healthcare workplaces had not had all of their infection control procedures and personal protective equipment needs met. This study should motivate our community to ensure that adequate, effective precautions are in place to protect workers from COVID-19 and promote mental health. In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Michael Quinlan draws our attention to changes in work arrangements that make disease prevention - for COVID-19 and more generally - more difficult, and reinforce disparities among

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

already marginalized groups. Dr. Quinlan’s commentary dovetails with something I have been thinking about lately: How the priorities and ideologies of our societies, economies and governments make working conditions that cause ill-health and reinforce health disparities possible. As an occupational hygienist, I was trained to look for and control the hazard in a workplace or industry, and our profession has used this approach to greatly diminish work-related injury, illness and fatality. But, the health and well-being of some workers remains poor. I am looking for new ways to advance workers’ safety, health and well-being – changing the way I talk about vulnerability and risk among workers to reflect how that vulnerability or risk was created, revisiting the assumptions and values in public policy, and advocating for equity. I know that some readers will consider me naïve - late to the game - on this issue, but I risk that embarrassment to encourage the readers of Exposure to find ways to affect change in our social systems that advance health and equity in work.

FIND OUT MORE... Annals of Work Exposures and Health useful information for BOHS members Online access to the journal and its archive: https://academic.oup.com/annweh How to activate your online subscription: https://www.bohs.org/ member-access-to-the-annals-of-workexposures-and-health/ More on the BOHS website: https://www.bohs.org/media-andresources/publications/annals-of-workexposure-health/




YOU! It is that time of the year when we ask for our members to think about how they want to make a difference to their profession, occupational hygiene. Occupational hygiene is a discipline that is often taken for granted despite its vast importance in helping to keep people healthy at work. Occupational hygiene has for decades been misunderstood and underrepresented and we would like to change that. Last year the world saw just how important occupational hygiene is through the amazing work that we, as a profession, have done (and are still doing) to pull together and help protect workers whilst the battle against Covid-19 continues. We know that Covid-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but we have not forgotten that there are other threats out there causing harm to workers, and the work that you carry out every day helps to save hundreds of lives. But what if you could help thousands? Being a Board or Committee Member gives you the opportunity to become part of something bigger, to have your voice heard further and give you a sense of pride, knowing you are doing your bit to support your profession in its aim to achieve a healthier working environment for all.


This year, we are not only expanding our Board to accommodate our ambitious new 5-year strategy, but we are also expanding our Faculty of Occupational Hygiene (FOH) Committee who have

THE BOARD THE PRESIDENTIAL TRIO With every new year, we see a new President don the Presidential Medal and thank our Past-President for their outstanding service. We are incredibly honoured by the work that each President carries out with their own drive and enthusiasm… and every BOHS presidency starts with their term as President-Elect. When a member nominates themself to become the President-Elect, they are not just nominating themself for one position. They are nominating themself for three: 1. President-Elect 2. President 3. Past-President. These positions follow in succession each year and the post-holders

BY AMY HARVEY just published their first ever 5-year strategy. We are looking for eager members, who share in our vision, to nominate themselves to be a part of the future of occupational hygiene.

together form the Presidential Trio, who, along with the Chief Executive, are the Executive. The Executive is relied upon to support the implementation of the Society’s strategic aims and provide oversight of the work of the Society. The role of President-Elect is key to preparing for the role of President of BOHS. At this stage, the President-Elect will engage with the membership, stakeholders, and the Head Office team to assist in understanding the various functions of the Society so that when their time comes, they are ready to become the Chair of the Board, the Chair of Trustees, and the leader of the Executive, of course, with the support of the CEO and Head Office team. As we start on the journey of our new 5-year strategy, we are looking for a President-Elect who not only understands the direction of the Society but shares in its values and ambitions and is motivated to take BOHS to the next level.



BOARD OFFICERS & MEMBERS Every member on our Board is equally important and draw on their experience to bring insights and ideas to help BOHS to aim higher and do better. Therefore, it would be remiss of us to not take a quick look at the other positions that are available on the Board this year.

HONORARY TREASURER & HONORARY SECRETARY Our current Board Regulations require that every year we elect an Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary. The Society would not be able to function without its Honorary Treasurer overseeing the financial management and compliance of the Society within Charity and Company Law and its Charter, bylaws, regulations, strategic aims, and mission. For the past four years, Amanda Parker has performed the role of Honorary Treasurer with great diligence, working very closely with our finance team and budget holders to ensure the Society is financial stable so that we can continue to support the occupational hygiene profession.

You will have heard from our Honorary Secretary more recently as this post oversees the Annual General Meeting. This is one of the many tasks the Honorary Secretary takes on as they have overall responsibility for the efficient and effective governance of the Society. Alex Wilson has held the position of Honorary Secretary for the past six years and with the support of our head office team, has ensured the Society continues to operate successfully.

ORDINARY BOARD MEMBERS Every three years, an Ordinary Board Member position becomes available and this year we see three of these seats complete their three-year terms and the creation of three additional seats! Despite the title, there is nothing ordinary about this position and we would like to emphasise how important each of

these positions is and stress the value of having a variety of backgrounds, knowledge and experiences. Along with our Officers, our Ordinary Board Members participate in Board meetings and Board Committees. These committees allow the Board to use their skillsets and areas of interest to provide more detailed scrutiny and deliberations. We have three Board Committees: 1. Finance, Operations & Governance 2. Strategic & Commercial Planning 3. Policy & Technical If you put yourself forward for this position and are successful, we will match you to the Board Committee which suits you the most, will develop your desired skills, and provide the most value. This does not mean you won’t have a voice in the other committees, as a Board Member you will need to keep up to date and contribute to all aspects of the Society.

Getting involved at Board level was a revelation to me. I never fully appreciated the breadth of activities that go on across BOHS, and the opportunities that such a portfolio offers us in terms of influencing others to make a positive contribution to worker health protection.” – Chris Keen, Ordinary Board Member.

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS



FACULTY OF OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENE (FOH) COMMITTEE The FOH Committee has ambitious plans to develop the occupational hygiene profession whilst raising standards and providing technical, scientific and non-technical skills related guidance. The Committee has already started laying the foundations for activities to support the implementation of the new Faculty of Occupational Hygiene Strategy for when their cohort of new FOH Committee Members join after the AGM. This year, the committee has expanded its membership by two

more seats meaning there are five seats available. This committee has been responsible for producing some excellent Guidance Documents aimed at improving the competency of those providing Occupational Hygiene services, including the Good Practice Guide for Consultants and the Buyer’s Guide for Occupational Hygiene Services. Now is your chance to join the FOH Committee and be a part of this invaluable committee. Positions Available 5 FOH Committee Members

I am extremely proud that the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene has developed its first 5-year Strategy and am excited about the work ahead to deliver our Strategic Aims. Sarah Leeson, Registrar of the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene

FACULTY OF ASBESTOS ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT (FAAM) COMMITTEE 2021 will be an important year for FAAM as Martin Stear has announced he will be stepping down as FAAM Registrar. Martin has been the Registrar since FAAM’s inception back in 2017 and we are all very proud of the success of this initiative, guided by Martin, which now boasts over 300 members. There will be big shoes to fill however, we are confident the right member will step up to continue

Nominations If you are unsure about putting yourself forward and would like to discuss further with an existing Board or Committee Member, please don’t hesitate to contact Amy Harvey (amy.harvey@bohs.org) who will be pleased to put you in touch with one of our existing Members.

the great work carried out by Martin and the rest of the committee. 2021 also begins with the FAAM Committee reviewing and finalising their new strategy which will align with the strategies for BOHS and the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene. For the last three years, FAAM has held an annual conference filled with interesting and relevant sessions, and workshops which have led to the start-up of two working groups

focused on reviewing the current issues within the industry and identifying ways in which FAAM can influence and improve them. By joining this committee, you will be able to get more involved in shaping the future of FAAM and making a difference to an industry close to your heart. Positions Available 1 FAAM Registrar 1 FAAM Committee Member

February 2021. To start your nomination please head to www.bohs.org/ nominations. Did you know? As a Board or Committee Member, you can claim CPD points for supporting activities and attending governance meetings.

We are open for nominations for these positions until 17:00 on Friday 26




OUR FIVE YEAR STRATEGY With the 2016-2020 strategy cycle coming to a close and having made a significant impact of many of our ambitious aspirations, the Board, Faculties and Head Office have been working to develop a set of achievable and focused aims for the next fiveyear period. During the last month, we have published the full details of the strategy on the website and released a series of discussion videos with our CEO, Kevin Bampton, and Board members. Strategy - British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) In this cycle, a specific strategy for each of the faculties (FOH and FAAM) has also been developed, to reflect the immensely important role that they play in developing the occupational hygiene professions and raising standards. Over the course of the next five years, the strategic aim is to “To position BOHS as the key scientific and professional body influencing change towards a healthier working environment”. Achievement of this will be demonstrated by: • BOHS’ professional standards seen as benchmark for good occupational hygiene practice • Robust and sustainable partnerships with all other key influencers • BOHS seen as responsive to critical contemporary issues, but a futurefocused organisation, anticipating new challenges • Widespread adoption and promotion of BOHS technical guidance by other key influencers

• Standing consultee for all key stakeholders in worker health protection and management of the work environment • BOHS awards seen as the gold standard for education in occupational hygiene and related areas • Growth in membership, engagement, and participation As you can imagine, work is already well underway in many of these areas as a result of the hugely valued voluntary contributions made the Society’s members through participation in working groups and committees, representing the Society at external meetings, providing technical expertise, and showing support of the Society’s activities, all ably supported by the Head Office team. We hope that you will share our enthusiasm and ambition for the future as outlined in the strategy documents and welcome your feedback on our areas of focus. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be highlighting further opportunities for members to help deliver these and sharing news on progress.

Mission Our mission is to safeguard the UK’s current and future health through the effective management of the workplace environment.

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

During the last month, we have published the full details of the strategy on the website and released a series of discussion videos with our CEO, Kevin Bampton, and Board members.

Vision Our vision is of a country where work is not a cause of acute or chronic ill-health.

Approach Our approach is led by principle, informed by science, enabled by professionalism, and guided by good sense.







I graduated at the Polytechnic of East London with a BSc (Hons.) in Applied Biology in 1986 and having spent three years working in research laboratories, I saw an advert for an ‘Air Quality Analyst’ in London which appealed to me. It turned out to be an asbestos air testing analyst and was the launch pad for my career in the asbestos industry. At grass roots level I started off carrying out air testing and dealing with asbestos removal contractors and clients on site. I then trained as an asbestos surveyor eventually becoming the Asbestos Business Director for a large National environmental Consultancy 10 years later.



A I became a member of BOHS

conferences, workshops and regional meetings that are organized by BOHS.


A I started taking the P-Certs in the late 1980s / early 1990s and then the S-301 and oral exam to become a CoCa, Asbestos in 1992. These qualifications have been invaluable to me in my career development and also add credibility to the consultancy work and training that I deliver.



A I enjoy reading asbestos

in order to keep up to speed with developments in the asbestos industry and for my own CPD that can be achieved by attending the numerous events throughout the year. I have been delivering the BOHS asbestos proficiency modules for nearly 20 years now.

related articles as well as other occupational hygiene related topics. I particularly enjoy FAAM news as it is so relevant to my role. The expertise within the organisation is ‘second to none’ and I am extremely privileged to have worked with many of the members.




A Sharing information with

like-minded professionals and attending the many seminars,



A Often the risk from

the workplace is not readily recognized or understood. BOHS therefore has a massive role in promoting worker health protection. This is facilitated by the organization having a large and wide membership base, together with appropriate educational courses and a plethora of information and guidance that is available.



A No two days are the

same for me at work and that is why I still love my job. I am the Managing Director of ABP Associates Ltd and Alison, my wife, is the other Director (Finance and HR). We directly employ 25 asbestos analysts, surveyors and administrative staff so each weeks tends to be action packed. We usually walk our dog, Pickle, on the way into the office which is a great start to the day. This week I was teaching asbestos removal Supervisors at our training center for two days. On the other days I was producing quotations, delivering some refresher training internally for surveying staff, and I had meetings via Teams relating to our Asbestos Consultancy framework agreement with a large utilities organisation. I Also had virtual weekly meetings with our Project Managers in our Stony Stratford and Monmouth offices, amongst other things.



A Work hard and the rewards will come. Never give advice unless you are 100% sure it is correct. You can always run it past a more experienced hygienist first.



A I have a passion for

gardening and in particular growing vegetables. I try to keep fit and I love to play tennis and golf. I was swimming 3 or 4 times a week before lock down so I do miss the fact that the pool I use is not yet fully open. Most evenings I play the guitar which really helps me wind down at the end of a busy day. We are fortunate enough to live in the New Forest National Park and have daily dog walks in the many great areas there are to go including the beach.



Film – Blues Brothers Song – Starman (David Bowie) Meal – I love all food (including marmite) except for sprouts !!!

health hazards present in



HSE’S RESEARCH PORTFOLIO At the end of last year HSE published an excellent document outlining its scientific evidence and research summaries https://www.hse.gov.uk/ research/content/science-evidenceresearch-summaries.pdf It will be of interest to members for many reasons, not least its signalling of where HSE are detecting issues and the need for better evidence. It is based on HSE’s Science and Evidence Strategy 2016-2021 and the document draws attention to their http://www. hse.gov.uk/research/. The publication is instructive in highlighting the programme of work that their science hub is undertaking including: • Research to explore the use of initial commissioning information when performing TExT and aims to understand how dutyholders use TExT and commissioning data to manage LEV systems. • Research, in collaboration with LEV industry professional bodies and trade associates, to increase HSE’s knowledge of what recirculating LEV systems are currently being used

and how they are being tested and maintained. • Research to build up knowledge providing HSE and industry with a one stop pointer to relevant legislation, standards and guidance for machine control systems, so that when using these new systems and methods, industry can do so safely and within a recognised legal framework. • New research to investigate whether emissions from desktop 3D printers in other environments (such as offices or workshops) are raised to hazardous levels, particularly when a larger number of printers are used in the same space and in relation to metal powders disposal. • Research to investigate how to detect and quantify tiny carbon particles released into the air and determine whether the proposed monitoring methods are practical for day-to-day use in manufacturing environments. • Research to investigate the potential for workplace sensing

technologies, data communication and data analysis tools, to enhance and complement standard methodologies and strategies currently used for workplace health and safety monitoring. • Conducting and publishing a literature review on safety knowledge in relation to resonant acoustic mixing (RAM) Full details are worthy of reading and there are other fascinating projects listed. In addition to these, a range of COVID-19 research projects are being undertaken. Together, these form an interesting backdrop to the future concerns for occupational hygiene and hygienists.


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How do I sign up? Simply email the membership team (membership@bohs.org) who will reply with your unique code and further instructions on how to sign up for a 3-year TOTUM card. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity and contact the Membership Team today for you code.

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS



ASTHMA, ISOCYANATES AND THE GROUP AUTHORITY LICENCE This is essential reading for those using MDSH25/4 On 4th November 2020 the HSE published statistics (https://www.hse.gov.uk/ statistics/causdis/asthma.pdf) on workrelated asthma in Great Britain for 2019. The data suggest that the rate of increase of new cases per year continues to rise, continuing a 4-year trend. Each year there are an estimated 17,000 new cases of self-reported “breathing or lung problems” caused, or made worse, by work. The most common cited causes of occupational asthma by chest physicians continue to be isocyanates and flour/grain. This article focusses on the former. The legal framework for protecting workers’ health is enshrined in The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. Employers are required to assess the risks to health from isocyanates, and put in place appropriate control measures. As the target organs are the lungs the most significant route of exposure is by inhalation. A fundamental part of the legallyrequired risk assessment is the measurement of exposures by inhalation. This requires the generation of valid data from workers’ breathing zones, and the comparison of these exposure measurements to Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs). Those of you reading this who are occupational hygienists will recognise the above approach as the standard way of working.


As with any other substance, you would turn to the Method of Determination of Hazardous Substance (MDHS) series of HSE Guidance Notes for information on approved, validated methods for carrying out such exposure measurements. This would identify MDSH25/4 as the method of choice. Therein lies the problem, because MDHS25/4 is unique! MSHS25/4 is the only sampling method in the series that requires the use of a substance classified as a drug under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. This substance, 1-(2-methoxyphenyl) piperazine (‘1-2MP’), can only be legally used by persons working under a Home Office licence – and only then if the work is carried out in strict accordance with the conditions laid down in the licence. Alternative sampling methods are available for isocyanates, however, they have drawbacks. They typically fail to measure the total reactive isocyanate group (TRIG) concentration necessary for direct comparison against the WELs. Hence MDHS25/4 remains the most appropriate method for measuring worker exposures and the method recommended by the HSE. The health of workers would clearly be compromised if MDHS25/4 could not be used for the purposes of risk assessments. For this reason,

the Home Office has granted a Group Authority Licence (GAL) allowing BOHS Members who belong to the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene permission to use sampling media containing 1,2-MP for the purposes of isocyanate monitoring to MDHS25/4. This is a key benefit of BOHS Membership as non-licenced hygienists cannot offer this service. The Home Office carries out audits on BOHS to ensure the Licence conditions are being met. The conditions are stringent and require 1,2-MP to be stored, used, and transported with similar management controls to other controlled drugs. BOHS is required to report annually to the Home Office on the safeguards put in place to ensure the conditions are met, together with information on quantities used. All incidents and issues are reported to the Home Office, who have the option of carrying out their own investigations. All of the GAL conditions are embodied in the BOHS Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which is accessible from the BOHS website. The SOP does not give details of how to carry out sampling. This is provided by MDHS25/4. However, following the SOP ensures compliance with the GAL. All Members must strictly comply with the SOP to avoid the potential revocation of this licence.

A fundamental part of the legally-required risk assessment is the measurement of exposures byinhalation. This requires the generation of valid data from workers’ breathing zones,


ASTHMA, ISOCYANATES AND THE GROUP AUTHORITY LICENCE BOHS member orders and receives sampling media from authorised labaratory

BOHS member ensures secure chain of custody during storage, transport and usage

Sampling media used for MDH525/4 survey


Complete exemption record detailing quantities of media for destruction

All sampling media used?


Sampling media returned to issuing laboratory with reacking number (or by hand ibtaining written receipt.)

As such a revocation would put workers’ health at risk, and take away a key Membership benefit, any non-compliance with the SOP will be investigated by the FOH Committee and actions taken as necessary. All those operating under the GAL automatically accept the following Condition of Use: It is a Condition of use of the Group Authority Licence that all Members who carry out work under this Licence grant permission for the issuing laboratories to supply BOHS with data on the quantities of 1,2-MP received and returned. These data will be used solely for the purposes of verifying data supplied by the Member in any end-of-year audit, and to obtain data on total member usage. The latter is a requirement of our Home Office Licence. This Condition will apply to all work carried out from 1 January 2021. The BOHS annual report to the Home Office is submitted by the end of January and relates to data from the

previous year. It is important that if you have used MDHS25/4 you declare this usage on the BOHS website. If selected for full audit, the information provided must be complete and accurate. The above Condition of use will allow future end-of-year audits to include the scrutiny of laboratory records of sampling media supplied to Members, and of subsequent returns. This higher level of scrutiny will provide the Home Office with evidence of continuous improvement and assist in the GAL application for renewal required later this year. It is essential that all orders for sampling media containing 1,2-MP are in the name of the Member leading the survey who will take responsibility for all aspects of the work and the Chain of Custody. Maintaining a secure Chain of Custody from receipt of sampling media through to tracked dispatch is a key condition of the GAL. When working with 1,2-MP I always mentally breathed a sigh of relief when the receiving laboratory confirmed receipt of samples as it was then officially “off my patch”. This is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. The audit of Member returns just completed has shown that some requirements of the SOP are being misunderstood. These are clarified below. Some Members who do not utilise all of the sampling 1,2-MP media place the remainder into stock for future use.

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

This is not permitted by the SOP. All such media must be returned to the issuing laboratory – either for analysis if used, or for destruction if not. Where unused media are returned for destruction, the quantities must be noted in an Exception Record which would be required for review if selected for audit. It is important that the Chain of Custody of the sampling media is secure. This requires the documenting of the despatch tracking number as evidence in documentation returned for audit. The SOP allows for non-Members to assist in the survey providing they work under close supervision of a Member and are trained in the requirements of the SOP. The audit documentation should detail how this is achieved. In practice, the requirements of the SOP have not changed. The above comments provide clarification only. However, what will change is the auditing process. All 1,2-MP sampling media supplies and returns will be verifiable by the issuing laboratories. It is therefore important to ensure that all usages of MDHS25/4 are declared, and that the data supplied are accurate. Your co-operation is essential to ensure retention of the GAL. Losing this key Member benefit is not an option. Graham Newport, GAL Responsible Officer




The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) is a body for professionals working in or with an interest in occupational health. Protecting the mental health and wellbeing of the public is a key part of what occupational medicine involves. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on the way that we live, and how and where we work. For many people, it has been a time of setbacks and loss as businesses close, redundancy looms, and the effects of inequalities become ever more apparent. The post-pandemic future is uncertain, and little is yet known about its longterm implications for individuals and organisations. It is therefore crucial to help organisations and individuals maintain health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond and to encourage policy makers to consider how to meet the key challenges they are facing.


Public Health England have commissioned SOM to host a series of seven webinars and associated resources to support organisations and employees by providing practical guidance on key issues of concern during these challenging times. The project is guided by a steering group that includes leading experts and employers’ organisations. The webinars are free of charge and designed to support employers and employees from businesses large and small; professionals working in health and social care, public health, occupational health, and human resources; the community and voluntary sector; and policy makers. The webinars are, however, open to everyone who has an interest in work and wellbeing. SOM have attracted a wide range of high-profile speakers

Protecting the mental health and wellbeing of the public is a key part of what occupational medicine involves. The Covid19 pandemic is having a major impact on the way that we live, and how and where we work.


WORK, WORKLESSNESS AND WELLBEING – COVID-19 AND BEYOND from organisations such as MIND, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Business in the Community, the British Psychological Society, the Health and Safety Executive, the Centre for Better Ageing and the Carnegie Trust and there will also be presentations from leading academics working in the field of work and wellbeing. Our first webinar, ‘Support for business to build back better: the benefits of age diversity’ was held on 21 January, attracting around 120 people from a range of sectors and with very positive feedback from attendees. Watch a video recording of the event on YouTube. Upcoming webinars include: • 28 January 2021 (2 – 3.30 pm) Refreshing your approach to workplace diversity and inclusion post 2020. • 4 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work. • 11 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing stress, burnout and fatigue in health and social care.

• 24 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Promoting workplace health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond. • 3 March 2021 (2 – 4pm) Developing a COVID-secure health and wellbeing strategy. • 10 March 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing change – from restricting and redundancy to implementing home working. We look forward to seeing you at the forthcoming webinars. More information on each webinar and how to book can be found on the Society of Occupational Medicine website. If you have missed the webinar, a recording will be available. SOM have also developed a wide range of resources for members and the public on the topic of mental health at work, all which are accessible on the SOM website. Among these resources are: • Guidance on mental health strategy, which should be measured and accredited using the Mental Health at Work standards.

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

Public Health England have commissioned SOM to host a series of seven webinars and associated resources to support organisations and employees by providing practical guidance on key issues of concern. • A report on the value of occupational health • Evidence of how occupational medicine and health can improve the wellbeing of the workforce. • Additional guidance to support working from home.




Modern industrial hygienists and other occupational and environmental health and safety professionals have access to an unprecedented amount of data to inform their everyday decisions. Editor’s note: The case study in this article is fictitious and is intended to highlight ethical issues in the practice of industrial hygiene. Any resemblance to real people or organizations is coincidental. Please send your responses to synergist@aiha.org. Responses may be printed in a future issue as space permits.

Much of that data comes from sources that OEHS professionals could only have dreamt of decades ago. From the 1940s through the 1960s, most practitioners relied on paper sources obtained during their education and perhaps some key, costly references acquired throughout their careers. It was rare for the practicing OEHS professional to have easy access to journals beyond those available through association memberships. The process of finding and using reliable OEHS data first incorporated electronic elements in the 1970s, when the fax machine became common. But


even in the 1980s, reference books were still the primary sources of EHS information, and despite the use of faxes it could still take weeks to obtain a copy of an article, if it arrived at all. Eventually, in the late 1980s, thanks to the availability of desktop computers and online data, electronic access to technical literature slowly became a real possibility for industrial hygienists. In those early days of computerized data retrieval, a researcher who provided enough background information could have an online search performed, usually by a librarian. If the article in question had been indexed, a copy might be obtained.

To make such a request, the industrial hygienist would generally need to know that a relevant document existed or provide appropriate keywords that might unearth unknown research reports. The various data search services included different publications in their search groups, and none were comprehensive. Therefore, even into the mid-1990s, it was most common for OEHS professionals to keep a few key technical reference volumes available as their primary sources of information for evaluating occupational exposure concerns and recommending appropriate protective measures.


ETHICS OF ANALYSIS After the turn of the century, the volume of data increased exponentially, with more created every few years than had been created throughout recorded history. Today, data can be directly transmitted from sampling locations to laboratories—a wonderful convenience, but one that introduces the possibility of massive errors if initial data are entered incorrectly (for example, reporting the wrong size particle for a selective sampler). This abundance of data makes fact checking both harder and easier. In 2021, we can find immediate answers to almost any question through the internet, but unfortunately, the answers that are most readily available often have, at best, a tenuous relationship to scientific rigor. DATA ANALYSIS All professionals develop a set of principles that guide their approach to data analysis. While many sources on sampling design exist, most professionals often need to make decisions with incomplete or lessthan-ideal information. It is therefore not unusual to find that, as new data become available, recommended precautions need to be revised. The history of industrial hygiene is replete with examples of workplace risks identified only after sampling technology or epidemiological analysis had advanced enough that the issue could be detected. The management of this ambiguity becomes an ethical issue when decisions are made regarding how to address previous reporting that proves, upon later analysis, to have been incorrect or insufficient. The following hypothetical scenario illustrates a potential ethical dilemma related to use of data and other information. DID IKE MAKE PROPER NOTIFICATION? Ike is a relatively new CIH who works on a large team at a major chemical company, where he has been praised for his handling of a major exposure concern. The company’s main production facility had been painted with a chemically resistant coating that

had deteriorated over time. It was not uncommon for employees to encounter flaking debris from the coating in many areas of the facility, including the cafeteria. Since, in its unreacted state, the coating was known to include potential sensitizers, Ike was assigned to evaluate the situation and recommend appropriate action. Ike collected coating samples for analysis. Air sampling identified the potential for inhalation of some of the debris, but laboratory analysis indicated that the cured material would not break down and the sensitizer of concern presented no apparent risk in its present form. Ike presented the data to company leadership and potentially affected employees. He recommended treating the material as a nontoxic dust and recoating deteriorated areas with an inert material. This recommendation was accepted and proved popular with company leadership since, while expensive, recoating was much less costly than stripping the coating from walls throughout the facility. Now, almost a year after the project was completed, Ike receives an urgent call from the analytical lab. They have discovered that they used incorrect reagents for analysis, based on an error in the electronic form Ike had submitted with the samples. Upon reanalysis, they have discovered that the sensitizer did, in fact, leach from the old cured coating and that, in rare cases, exposure could cause serious concerns for particularly sensitive individuals. Since the new inert coating was shown to be protective, and Ike has not, to this date, received any reports of illness potentially related to exposure to the original coating, he decides to take no further action. For discussion: Does Ike have an obligation to communicate this new information? What is his ethical obligation if he informs his management but they choose to only monitor the situation? Does the statistically low probability of harm make a difference? What guidance can you draw from the code of ethics (PDF, bit.ly/bgc-code) to assist your evaluation of Ike’s decision?

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

CODES AND PRINCIPLES Ethical codes and principles, like those formulated by member organizations including AIHA and ACGIH, as well as the Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BCG), commonly require that health and safety information be accurately communicated to the best of the professional’s knowledge. The BGC Code of Ethics (PDF, bit.ly/bgccode) requires that credentialed professionals “recognize and respect the intellectual property rights of others and act in an accurate, truthful and complete manner” with respect to others’ professional work and research.

JIHEEC: PROMOTING ETHICAL PRACTICE The Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee (JIHEEC) promotes awareness and understanding of the enforceable code of ethics published by BGC as well as the ethical principles of AIHA and ACGIH. JIHEEC includes representatives from all three organizations. JIHEEC is not an enforcement body or resolution board. It serves the profession by bringing attention to and expressing opinions on ethical dilemmas and challenges encountered by industrial hygienists and OEHS professionals.

ALAN LEIBOWITZ, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, is the president of EHS Systems Solutions LLC, chair of the Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee, current BGC chair, and a past Board member of AIHA. This article originally appeared in the January 2021 issue of The Synergist®, the magazine of the American Industrial Hygiene Association®. It is reprinted with permission.




The British Occupational Hygiene Society has been supporting workplace health prevention since 1953. Over that period, it has become more and more apparent that we all need to take a long-term view of workplace health. This is because causes of worker ill-health and the manifestation of occupational diseases often only become obvious sometime after exposure.

• Age well; • Require less social care and State support through benefits and healthcare. In practice this means that the Society’s professionals look beyond the management of hazards to the long-term control of risks.

As the Chartered Society for worker health protection, we believe that everyone should all be able to:

By working in partnership, we believe we are beginning to set a blue-print for sustainable workplace health. BOHS, as a scientific charity, has characterised the key facets of supporting sustainable workplace health as:

• Work healthily and in environments that are better for our physical and mental health; • Work productively and for longer;

A Anticipating and designing out health risks at work (in materials selection, process design and industrial practices);


By working in partnership, we believe we are beginning to set a blue-print for sustainable workplace health. BOHS, as a scientific charity, has characterised the key facets of supporting sustainable workplace health...


SUSTAINABLE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH B Focusing on understanding and managing prevention, as well as the monitoring and treatment of illness; C Using the full range of options to control risk, including consideration of human factors, and the responsibility of everyone in the workplace in managing behaviours, attitudes, processes and systems; D Targeting enhanced occupational health services to those who need it most, taking an individual riskbased approach; E Making occupational hygiene and health core to mainstream STEM and Health Curricula;

A partnership approach to delivering Sustainable Workplace Health Sustainable workplace health will require effective partnerships. Such partnerships, between the public and private sectors; industry and academia; and through design and delivery are to some extent exemplified by work at sites like Hinkley Point 2 (HPC2). HPC2 highlights how sustainable workplace health might be achieved at scale. It also demonstrates how strategic leadership and expert occupational hygiene advice on large infrastructure projects can have in cascading down to transform behaviours in the supply chain. Hinkley Point 2 At A Glance

F Working towards a whole life strategy for managing the impact of workplace health exposures. We believe that the right strategy can drive down costs to industry and the public purse, because of early intervention and targeted solutions.

• The first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in over 20 years; Hinkley Point C in Somerset will provide low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes, create thousands of jobs and bring lasting benefits to the UK economy.

EXPOSURE #1 FEBRUARY 2021 - the official magazine of BOHS

We believe that the right strategy can drive down costs to industry and the public purse, because of early intervention and targeted solutions. • Construction and operation of Hinkley Point C will create 25,000 employment opportunities, up to 1,000 apprenticeships and 64% of the project’s construction value is predicted to go to UK companies. The consortium delivering this incredibly complex project committed to looking at occupational hygiene and occupational health differently and, to some extent, separately. What this means is that the prevention of health exposures has been a focus in itself, rather than being a reaction to the identification of hazards on site.




PROTOCOL BOHS has traditionally been rightly protective of its logo and has restricted its use by members. BOHS is also one of the most widely-known providers of occupational hygiene qualifications in the world. It has a reputation for high standards, technical excellence and scientific integrity means that it is seen as a bench mark of good practice. Perhaps because of this, the logo appears widely used by people without permission, but who have undertaken BOHS qualifications in the past. This sometimes has the effect of appearing to lend our endorsement to less scrupulous people, while depriving our members of the ability to highlight their ongoing association and commitment to us and to high occupational hygiene standards. The Society wishes to use this reputation for the improvement of occupational hygiene and to further assist in worker health protection. To this end, the Faculties and Board wish to work with members, partners, those who have gained its qualifications, training providers and other organisations to ensure that its brand is used as a benchmark of quality. We should not discourage the use of the BOHS brand when associated with high quality occupational hygiene and initiatives to promote worker health protection. With appropriate use of the BOHS brand, we can work to raise standards and public awareness of good occupational hygiene practice. In order to do this, the Society proposes


to provide a free registration scheme for the use of custom logos to help highlight good practice, qualifications and association with the Society. The registration scheme aims at enabling fair use of the Society’s logos, providing a more commercially useful set of branding products for partners and managing the data challenges of the many thousands of people and organisations who might legitimately wish to highlight their valuable association with BOHS. This would mean that a current member could download a custom logo, denoting BOHS membership and membership grade and/or logo identifying the level of qualification attained from BOHS. Non-BOHS holders of BOHS qualifications could also do so, but would have to pay an administration fee. The mechanism for downloading this would be via an online “store” provided by Mimeo. As part of the contract for fair use, logo-users would define what purpose they wished to use the logo for and undertake to abide by the BOHS rules. The logo would be valid for one year and would be renewed for free. Logo users would agree to have their data held for the purposes of determining whether the logo was being used correctly. Logo users would undertake to help protect the brand of BOHS by being vigilant for misuse by others so that we can work with Trading Standards to prosecute rogue traders who affix the BOHS logo to installations and otherwise use it inappropriately. We are interested to get feedback from members as to what they think they would wish to use the logo for so that we can design appropriate purposes.

We should not discourage the use of the BOHS brand when associated with high quality occupational hygiene and initiatives to promote worker health protection. With appropriate use of the BOHS brand, we can work to raise standards and public awareness of good occupational hygiene practice.


BOHS Head Office 5/6 Melbourne Business Court, Millennium Way, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8LZ, UK T: + 44 (0) 1332 298101 | membership@bohs.org | www.bohs.org The views expressed in this issue are not necessarily those of BOHS Board