Workers in the electroplating industry are dealing daily with the hazards associated with their profession. How do they understand and control these hazards and risks? Is their approach different from the experts’?
According to an article by Sadhra et al. (2002), workers understanding of the chemical risks of an electroplating shop was examined based on thorough interviews. The following points were highlighted:
Regarding controlling the chemical risks, experts are prioritizing the control measures, starting from elimination of risk, substitution of risk, engineering controls, administrative controls, and, lastly, personal protective equipment (PPE). However, workers seem to value the most PPE, as the one control measure, they have direct access to and can influence and ensure their protection on a degree.
Even though the article was published 10 years ago, and the entire surface finishing industry has witnessed significant changes in regards to risk management, the information obtained remain valuable to this date. It is essential that workers are fully informed on the hazards and risks associated with the scope of their work. For this reason, trainings are absolutely necessary. What is more, the adoption of more effective and reliable control measures for the elimination of hazard and associated risk is also necessary. Under this scope, the FreeMe project aims to develop two technologies to eliminate the use of toxic hexavalent chromium and palladium from the plating on plastics process.
Reference: Sadhra, S., Petts, J., McAlpine, S., Pattison, H. M., & MacRae, S. (2002). Workers’ understanding of chemical risks: electroplating case study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(10), 689–695. https://doi.org/10.1136/oem.59.10.689