Scand J Work Environ Health 2005;31 suppl 2:37-42    pdf

The conditions and perception of work during painting behind screening

by Spee T, Boeckhout CI, van Ginkel T, Terwoert J

Objective This study attempted to reveal whether airborne solvent concentrations during painting behind screening are comparable to solvent concentrations during painting indoors, what factors potentially influence work conditions during painting behind screens, both positively and negatively, and what can be done to eliminate the disadvantages of screening.

Methods Measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOC), climate, light, and noise were made at three sites during 1 day each. VOC were measured at another 10 sites, again during 1 day each. Questionnaires were sent to painters working in 305 firms.

Results The results of the first series of measurements (exposure to VOC) ranged from 3.4 to 22.9 mg/m3 with a geometric mean of 11.7 and a geometric standard deviation of 2.1. This range was less than the level expected in well-ventilated rooms. In the second series of measurements, with a few exceptions, the concentrations of the individual compounds were below 1 mg/m3. In both series, the exposure index was generally ≤0.05. The advantages of working behind screening were more certainty of work during the winter months, better temperature conditions, better quality of work, less draft, and less temperature fluctuation.

Conclusions Painting behind screening, as studied in this project, results in low exposure to VOC when compared with indoor situations. The main factors that need to be improved are temperature, lighting, view from the workplace, and ventilation.