Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1998;24(2):125-129    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.289 | Issue date: Apr 1998

Variability in skin exposure in machine operators exposed to cutting fluids

by Wassenius O, Järvholm B, Engström T, Lillienberg L, Meding B

Objective This study describes a new technique for measuring skin exposure to cutting fluids and evaluates the variability of skin exposure among machine operators performing cyclic work.

Methods The technique is based on video recording and subsequent analysis of the video tape by means of computer-synchronized video equipment. The time intervals at which the machine operator's hand was exposed to fluid were registered, and the total wet time of the skin was calculated by assuming different evaporation times for the fluid. The exposure of 12 operators with different work methods was analyzed in 6 different workshops, which included a range of machine types, from highly automated metal cutting machines (ie, actual cutting and chip removal machines) requiring operator supervision to conventional metal cutting machines, where the operator was required to maneuver the machine and manually exchange products.

Results The relative wet time varied between 0% and 100%. A significant association between short cycle time and high relative wet time was noted. However, there was no relationship between the degree of automatization of the metal cutting machines and wet time.

Conclusion The study shows that skin exposure to cutting fluids can vary considerably between machine operators involved in manufacturing processes using different types of metal cutting machines. The machine type was not associated with dermal wetness. The technique appears to give objective information about dermal wetness.