Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Equipment to protect against polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon related hazards in coking plants

The work performed by battery workers, machine operators and heating controllers was analysed. The systematic analysis made it possible to:
describe actual operating modes and to assess deviations from the prescribed operating mode which affect workers' exposure to risks;
identify and evaluate the main stress factors;
detect malfunctions and incidents.

Air sampling was carried out to assess exposure to hazards associated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the oven section of the coking plant. In a fixed position, when charging operations are not taking place, levels of benzo[a]pyrene are much lower on the new battery than on the older installations. The emission of PAHs, mainly increased in proportion to the age of the installation.

Comparison of methods and approaches developed by other European countries to provide protection against PAHs showed:
different measurements are carried out in the countries concerned;
different limit values in each country;
protective equipment regulations.

The design was worked out for the enclosed charging machine cabins and a product to seal charging holes was selected. A psychosociological survey was carried out on the use of respiratory protection devices. Generally speaking. workers had a positive attitude to safety but make little use of disposable masks and do not make proper use of the air fed equipment made available to them. Workers are aware of short term risks, but fail to appreciate long term risks and do not use respiratory protection devices.

Efficiency tests were carried out on respiratory protection devices using dummies and real workers. Acceptability tests on respiratory protection devices showed that protection must take account of task requirements, which means that workers must have various types of respiratory protection devices at their disposal.

Specifications for personal protective equipment and information and training aids have been prepared concerning PAH related hazards and the wearing of respiratory protection devices.

Reported by

Rue du Comte Jean Grande-Synthe France
59381 Dunkerque
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