141st APHA Annual Meeting

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Auto body paint workers: An assessment of respirators and levels of fatigue

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

A. Serdar Atav, PhD , Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Michael Bach, BSN , Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Nurses are increasingly finding themselves in positions of advocacy for their patients. Particularly in rural areas, nurses are at the forefront of identifying and reducing risks for occupational health and safety. There are approximately 250,000 auto body paint workers in the United States. These workers are frequently exposed to isocyanates that are present in automotive spray clear coat, auto body filler hardeners, and paint thinners used in cleaning spray equipment. Clinical studies have shown that increased exposure to isocyanates cause chronic respiratory illness and other complications including fatigue. Fatigue levels may increase with each chemical sensitization. Worker output may suffer and sick days may increase as a result. Respirator choice may be the key to decreasing sensitization among workers who handle and use isocyanates. Various types of respirators with different types of cartridges are used by auto body workers to minimize exposure to such chemicals. While all of these respirators satisfy minimum OSHA requirements, their weight, convenience of use, and cost differ significantly. The purpose of this presentation is to provide background information on the respirators used by auto paint workers; examine the effect of the type of respirator on levels fatigue among auto body paint workers; and analyze the frequency and convenience of use of such respirators in common auto body paint tasks. To this end, data collected from a dozen auto body shops in rural North Eastern Pennsylvania will be analyzed. Additional data related to individual demographic characteristics of workers and their work environment will be studied.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe types of respirators used in auto body shops. Assess the relationship between types of respirators and levels of fatigue. Describe the frequency and convenience of use of various types of respirators by auto body paint workers.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is my doctoral dissertation topic and I have extensive experience working with the auto body paint industry
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.