ULTIMATE GUIDE - What are the Latest EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits?
ULTIMATE GUIDE – What are the Latest EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits?

 

Welcome to your ULTIMATE GUIDE on the latest EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits. In this article, we’re going to look at what the EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) are and the latest updates.

 

What are the EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits?

WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits) are measures set by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) that aim to provide a legal limit of concentration, or strength of a given substance in a workplace’s air over a period of time, TWA (Time Weighted Average).

This guideline has been set to protect an employee by setting guidelines for work working conditions. Workplace Exposure Limits are divided into two categories, Short-Term Exposure Limits (STEL) and Long-Term Exposures Limits. Find out more about What are Substance WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits)? on our blog.

Workers exposed to substances at work, for example, chemicals, fumes, dust or fibres, can have a harmful effect on their health. These can have a detrimental effect on employees’ health and have been labelled as ‘hazardous substances’. If not properly controlled, it may cause ill health in several ways. The substance may cause harm by:

  • Inhalation: Too much being taken into the body through breathing
  • Absorption: Through the skin;
  • Swallowed
  • Acting directly on the body at the point of contact, for example, skin

 

What’s the Latest EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits Update?

In 2020, new or revised WELs for 13 new substances were introduced which took effect from 17th January 2020.

The latest version of EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits has been updated to include the new and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs). New substances were introduced by the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (EU) 2017/2398 amending Directive (2004/37/EC) and guides those responsible for controlling exposure to hazardous substances at work.

 

New WELs substances include:

Whilst these WELs substances have been reduced:

  • Hardwood dust (including mixed dust)
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Respirable crystalline silica
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine
  • Bromoethylene
  • Hardwood dust (reduced from 5mg.m3 to 3mg.m3)
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine

 

NOTICE: The 2020 EH40 edition replaces the previous version as published in 2018 and takes into account the new and amended occupational exposure limits.

 

What are Substance WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits)?
What are Substance WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits)?

 

What are the EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits?

WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits) are measures set by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) that aim to provide a legal limit of concentration, or strength of a given substance in a workplace’s air over a period of time, TWA (Time Weighted Average).

This guideline has been set to protect an employee by setting guidelines for work working conditions. Workplace Exposure Limits are divided into two categories, Short-Term Exposure Limits (STEL) and Long-Term Exposures Limits. Find out more about What are Substance WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits)? on our blog.

 

How Do Workplace Exposure Limits Affect My Business?

If you’re dealing with harmful substances in your businesses and they’re causing health problems for workers, you’ll need to provide exposure control measures to reduce the health risks in employees. You should follow the Hierarchy of Control flow diagram to determine how best to remove or reduce the risk of exposure in the workplace. By following these steps, you can make your workplace a safer place to work.

A safer place to work can have several benefits for your business, including:

  • Healthier and happier staff with a lower sickness rate, reduced risk of HSE non-compliance
  • Fee for intervention (FFI) costs (where the hourly rate is £160) or;
  • Legal and liability claims

 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has assembled the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, the guidance put together to help employers’ reduce the risks to hazardous substances. In this guidance, it states:

  1. Every employer who provides any control measure, other thing or facility in accordance with these Regulations shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that it is properly used or applied on a case by case basis.
  2. Every employee shall make full and proper use of any control measure, other thing or facility provided in accordance with these Regulations and, where relevant.

Employers should create adequate control procedures to control employees from exposures. These may include LEV, RPE or PPE.

 

Example

The World Health Organization reclassified welding fume as carcinogenic to humans after new evidence came to light that cancer in humans was found after welding fume inhalation. The fume inhaled was proven to cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer too. Find out more about the risks of welding fume here. HSE updated their guidance to reflect the new evidence, advising: “There is no safe level of exposure.”

Businesses across Great Britain have had to adapt to HSE’s new welding fume control guidance. The HSE’s advice is to primarily control welding fume exposure through the use of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) engineering controls. Businesses are also required to provide staff with Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) as a secondary measure.

 

Workplace Air Monitoring

Workplace air monitoring, also commonly known as air sampling, is a process whereby air is taken from the workplace is assessed to determine what contaminants are present in the air. A comprehensive report is then generated detailing the concentration, or strength of the substance identified.

The results of the monitoring process can then be interpreted and be married up against the EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits guidance. These results can determine whether the contaminants found are short-term or long-term exposures to set limits for how much time employees should be with the contaminants found. This can also help a business determine how best to protect employees from the harmful substances identified and how best to control exposures.

 

Health Surveillance

By putting together a comprehensive health surveillance programme, you can gather data and regularly assess your employee’s health. A health monitoring service like this can identify and lower the risk of developing health problems early.

 

Get FREE Help, Today!

We’ll call to arrange a convenient time and date to visit your site. We’ll analyse your working processes, assess the substances used and the contaminants generated. We’ll work out how best to control the dust and fume in a way that’s in line with your COSHH risk assessment. Next, we’ll design you a comprehensive LEV system that adheres to HSG258 guidance and send this you to via email. 

We’ll do all this to ensure we fully understand your dust and fume extraction requirements and help you to provide a pollution-free workplace!

This is an amazing service we do for thousands of businesses throughout the UK and Ireland every year. We work with such a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing, industrial, woodworking, pharmaceutical and automotive workshops to schools, colleges and military establishments. 

Request your FREE, no-obligation LEV site assessment today!

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About Us

Auto Extract Systems Ltd is the UK’s leading Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) company. Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of businesses create dust and fume free workplaces.

As experts in all things LEV, we can help your business become COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulation 2002 compliant with a tailored LEV solution. We provide comprehensive design, installation, maintenance and certification services across a range of industry sectors. Find out more about us here.

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