Report Seeks to Improve Understanding of U.K. Nanomaterials Industry
A recently released report on the nanomaterials industry in Great Britain discusses employees’ potential for exposure to airborne nanomaterials. The project on which the report is based was commissioned by the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), an agency of HSE that focuses on evidence and control of risks to people at work. HSE and HSL invited companies that manufactured or used nanomaterials to take part in the project, which included visits to facilities to assess workers’ exposure to airborne nanomaterials during their manufacture, handling, and use, and to assess the effectiveness of the controls used to reduce these exposures. HSE’s report represents a “limited view of the industry across the U.K.,” as only four companies volunteered to participate. However, researchers still gleaned key findings from the project, including that existing good hygiene control practices can be used to reduce exposure to airborne nanomaterials. Some companies perceived there to be no specific risks with the nanomaterials they were handling and had not carried out training on working with nanomaterials. The project also showed that an effective risk management assessment strategy could include a combination of an exposure monitoring approach and an occupational hygiene assessment of the process and controls. Researchers found a strategy suited to small businesses for monitoring emission of airborne nanomaterials was practical and cost effective. For more information, see the full report on HSE’s website.