1991 – DFSS 1 – Defence Forces Safety Standards on the Control of Substances (Chemicals) Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

CONTENTS

  • SECTION 1: INFORMATION SOURCES

  • SECTION 2: DATA SHEETS

  • SECTION 3: PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT

  • SECTION 4: CONTROL

  • SECTION 5: ASSESSMENT SHEETS

  • SECTION 6: BIBLIOGRAPHY

SECTION 1 – INFORMATION SOURCES

Information on substances used at work can be obtained from a wide variety of sources. It is not merely a matter of asking the supplier – some materials have no. external supplier in the sense that they are produced within the workplace itself; by-products, intermediates, even the final product of the process. Whatever the source of the material, nothing effective can be done by way of control unless the chemical components are known. This is necessary in order to select the least toxic of a number of alternative materials which may be available and to be able to render appropriate medical treatment in cases of exposure, as well as to achieve safe and legal disposal of waste, and to introduce the right control measures.

Suppliers

Section 10 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 places duties onsuppliers of substances. It shall be the duty of any person who designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any articles for use at work to:-

(a) ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the articles is. designed, constructed, tested and examined so as to be safe and without risk to health when used by a person at a place of work;

(b) take such steps as are necessary to secure that persons supplied by that person with the articles are provided with adequate information etc.

Additionally, necessary steps must be taken to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons so supplied are provided with revisions of such information as are necessary by reason of its becoming known that rise to anything gives a serious risk to health or safety.

The supplier’s information should be sufficient to enable the constituents of the material to be identified, describing the specific hazards of the product, dangerous conditions which may arise, and the necessary safety precautions. It is common ground amongst recipients that the standard of suppliers’ information varies enormously. In a 1974 US Government survey it was found that firms questioned used 95,000 different trade-named products, and that the composition of 90% of these products was not known to the companies using them. Disclosure of composition of products is not a requirement under SAHAWA, and suppliers sometime claim that the formulation is a trade secret. A useful review of manufacturers’ attitudes and the user’s need to know is contained in “Chemical Risk” by Maurice Frankel of Social Audit (Pluto Press, 1982). The book suggests that employers should adopt a policy of not using trade-named substances unless their composition is fully known. This means the provision of a data sheet (see below). The simplest test of the adequacy of suppliers’ information is whether there is sufficient information to allow the user to carry out a COSHH assessment.

Chemical Components of Hazardous Substances

Once the type of chemical composition is known, information can be sought from a variety of sources. The supplier’s data sheet should not be used sources should alone; other be used to check that what is supplied is fact, or else that the basis for the opinion can be justified. Specialist information is available from Eolas which is accessible to the public.

Mixtures

Data becomes less reliable and less available for mixtures, for which there is often little toxicological information. Some compounds exhibit the so-called “synergistic effect” in association with others, and a knowledge of this possibility is necessary for those evaluating hazards. for example, the combined effect of asbestos dust and the products of tobacco smoke in the lungs produces a greatly increased risk of lung cancer. Medical evidence suggests that for an estimate of lung cancer risk in people who smoke and are exposed to asbestos, you must multiply (as opposed to add) the separate individual risks from these agents. This obviously results in a much greater level of overall risk.

SECTION 2 – DATA SHEETS

This section discusses the desirable contents of a data sheet received by the end user, in this case the person carrying out the COSHH assessment. One of the main recommendations of this is that the Defence Forces performing assessments, should produce its own internal data sheets compiling them from the suppliers’ information into a standard format which can’ then be assembled into a COSHH information pack for the organisation.

It is therefore necessary to devise a set of headings of information which constitutes the minimum information needed to identify and control the hazard (if any) adequately.

Appropriate Contents of Safety Data Sheets

Data FieldTypical Contents
1. Product and Company IdentificationTrade Name Company Name, Division, Address Issue Date of Data Sheet Emergency Advice Telephone Number
2. Information On IngredientsChemical Name(s) Mixture Ingredients Rough Proportions
3. Physico-Chemical DataAppearance Odour Boiling Point Melting/Freezing Point Flash Point Auto-F lammability Explosive Properties PH Value (As Supplied) Vapour Pressure Relative Density Viscosity Solubility Partition Co-Efficient Other Selected Data
4. Stability/ReactivityCondition To Avoid (Temperature,Pressure, Light, Shock) Materials To Avoid Hazardous Decomposition Products
5. Handling/StorageConditions Of Storage Specifying Limits Handling Precautions
6. Personal ProtectionRPE Hand Protection Eye Protection Skin Protection
7. Fire-FightingSuitable Extinguishing Media Unsuitable Extinguishing Media Specialist Protective Equipment for Firefighters
8. Measures In Case Of Accidental ReleasePersonal Precautions Environmental Precautions Clean-Up Methods
9. Health Hazard Toxicity DataConcise,. understandable descriptions of toxicological effects, including exposure routes, symptoms of both gross short-termover exposure and of longer-term lesser exposure, delayed effects and information about any relevant occupationa] exposure limit
10. First Aid MeasuresBrief, understandable, subdivided by exposure route, include delayed effects and whether immediate medical attention is required. Notes To Physicians
11. Ecological InformationMobility Persistence Degradability Aquatic Toxicology
12. Waste DisposalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Methods Of Disposal Handling Of Contaminated Packaging
13. TransportTransport Regulation Requirements
14. Hazard LabellingCPL Hazard Classification Description

For Defence Forces data sheets it will be neither appropriate nor necessary to include all the above fields of information. of comprehension, and selection will be required of what is needed and the necessary contents of each field which will be appropriate and relevant for the end users.

SECTION 3 – PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT

All substances potentially hazardous to health, can be that managed safely provided a suitable strategy has been devised and is in place. Such a Strategy will contain four parts:-

    1. OBTAINING AND PASSING ON KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE CHEMICAL.

    2. THE ASSESSMENT OF HAZARDS POSED BY IT, ITS USE, IT BY-PRODUCTS, DISPOSAL AND STORAGE.

    3. CONTROL OF THE CHEMICAL, USING ENGINEERING TECHNIQUES, SAFE OPERATING PROCEDURES AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT.

    4. MONITORING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CONTROL STRATEGY.

The term assessment encompasses not only the assessment of the hazards and risks involved, but also the subsequent development of control techniques applicable to the substance in question. An assessment therefore, should be regarded as a total strategy, and is best set down in writing.

This Standard uses the words hazard and risk. The words have specific and different meanings. A hazard is a situation with a potential to cause .injury or damage. A hazardous substance is one which, by virtue of its chemical properties, constitutes.a hazard. A risk is the probability or likelihood of the hazard actually causing a degree of injury or damage. Thus assessment of a hazardous substance is based solely on the properties of the substance, whereas assessment of the risk needs a review of these properties in the light of the specific way substances are handled, used or encountered at work and judgement of whether the risk to people, (and property and the environment) is tolerable.

How Hazardous Substances Are Encountered At Work

Every workshop and most offices, shops and other workplaces, handle chemicals. Hazardous substances may be encountered at work in five main ways:-

    • as raw materials for manufacturing or service processes. Examples are solvents for degreasing paints used to coat the product or for respraying cars, fertilisers in agriculture, and toners for dry copiers;
    • as engineering and cleaning materials, such as lubricants, cutting oils, water treatment chemicals, decorative paints, toilet cleaner and bleaches:
    • for service functions, such as adhesives, correcting fluids;
    • as products of the process, whether as intended products, by-products, waste products or intermediates; or
    • as incidental products such as the Legionella micro-organism, vehicle exhaust fumes or ozone from copiers.

The Hazards Of Chemicals

The principle groups of chemicals are those classified as very toxic, toxic, harmful, corrosive or irritant, under the EEC Regulations governing classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances. There are three other groups: micro-organisms, unclassified substances and dust. Dust is defined as hazardous if it is present in substantial quantity, even if it has no apparently harmful properties covered in DFSS 1 1991.

Some substances have hazards which could endanger many people immediately in a Single incident. Others may be the cause of disease which could take many years to develop. Substances can be categorised according to the type of harm they can cause; many substances fall into more than one category.

Corrosive chemicals, such as strong acids or strong bases, will attack other materials or people. Chemical burns are usually painful, deep-seated and slow to heal.

Irritants such as acrylates may affect the skin, causing problems like. dermatitis, or they can affect the respiratory tract. Some people may also be allergic to certain sensitisers such as isocyanates and epoxy resins.

Agents of anoxia are those vapours or gases which dilute the oxygen available in the air or prevent the body using it effectively. Examples are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

Toxic substances are those which can harm the body, in a number of ways. Often, these work by damaging an organ such as the liver or kidneys. Examples are chlorinated solvents and the heavy metals.

A few substances can prevent the correct development and growth of the cells of the body. Carcinogens can cause or promote the growth of unwanted cells, as a cancer. Teratogens may cause an embryo to develop abnormally, and to be born with defects or be stillborn. Mutagens can cause cell changes with an attendant risk of cancer.

Effects Of Hazardous Substances

Apart from their innate hazardous properties, the ease with which substances can enter the body and the body entry route are further crucial factors in determining the total harmful effect. Substances may penetrate the skin, either through cuts, or if they are fat solvents, through intact skin. They may be ingested through the mouth, often as a result of poor standards of hygiene. Normally the most important route of entry though is through the respiratory system. This is because the respiratory system can be a very efficient and sensitive method of transferring materials from the outside environment into the body.

Substances may cause harmful health effects from a single dose, or from an accumulation of smaller doses, or from continuous exposure over long periods. The effect may be acute illness, or a chronic, long term disease.

Single doses do not necessarily cause only acute disease, neither are cumulative doses the only causes of chronic disease.

The Assessment

Who will be judged competent to carry out an assessment? The simple answer is – anyone, provided that the result provides adequate control of all the potential hazards deriving from substances used, produced, stored and handled at work. Persons must have expertise commensurate with the risk, process complexity and variability. For most Units using substances, there will be people in place with special or certainly adequate, knowledge of those substances.

The aim of this Section is to provide such an approach, which can be logged in the format suggested by the accompanying charts. The approach has the benefit of “showing the working” and also minimises the chances of missing a substance or failing to complete the assessment. The charts include an assessment sheet to record the results of air sampling exercises, and provides a File Record.

Assessment – A Structured Approach

Phase 1

Obtaining And Passing On Knowledge
      1. Prepare lists of chemicals, substances, mixtures which are used, bought in, produced in the location/activity, or to which employees are otherwise exposed at work.
      2. Consolidate the lists, and prepare a suitable Data Sheet.
      3. Marshall information from suppliers, external data sources, industry associations, etc., on the properties and hazards.
      4. Summarise the basic hazards (if any) of each substance in the list.
      5. Prepare summary data sheets on substances judged to be hazardous to a common pattern, and distribute to interested parties.

Phase 2

Assessment Of Risks In Practice
      1. Assess each process using the substances listed.
      2. Identify substances defined “hazardous to health”.
      3. Review all substances and associated hazards to identify further hazards or rule against unacceptable processes or practices.
      4. Assess likely exposure to the substances listed, including any exposure of non-employees.
      5. Compare this with a standard. (Provided through Eolas).
      6. Decide on need for air sampling and for biological monitoring and who should perform this, to assist in (4) and (5).
      7. If air sampling is required, record the results.
      8. Ensure medica1 records are kept in respect of any personal biological monitoring carried out.

Phase 3

Control Of Hazards And Risks
      1. For each chemical, decide and record how it is to be controlled.
      2. Produce, or review, safe operating procedures in written form for each substance deemed to be hazardous, to cover processes and controL measures.
      3. Ensure that specific reference is made to appropriate personal protective equipment necessary, by type and/or irish/British Standard.

Phase 4

Monitoring Effectiveness
      1.  Establish a procedure for reviewing control] measures.
      2. Establish the frequency of any required air sampling as an on-going check, recording the results.
      3. Set up necessary arrangements for maintenance, examination and testing of local exhaust ventilation and other appropriate control measures.
      4. Establish procedures for supplying and maintaining personal protective equipment.
      5. Establish a procedure for incorporating newly-acquired substances, new hazard information or changed work practices into the assessment.
      6. Establish the training process as appropriate.
      7. Agree with Supervisors the frequency at which the assessment will be repeated in full or in part.
      8. Sign and date the finished assessment, and decide on distribution of
        copies.

The next part of the Section takes the four stages identified above in more detail, and should be read in conjunction with the Assessment Pro Formae.

1. Obtaining Knowledge

The necessary information on substances must be acquired and collated. Substances may be brought into an organisation for a number of purposes. They may be:-

(a) Bought In As Raw MaterialsRaw Materials Solvents Products Which Generate Oust. During Processing Finishing chemicals
(b) Produced As Part Of The ProcessIntended Products By-Products Waste Products Intermediate Products
(c) Bought For Engineering And CleaningCleaning Solvents Bleaches Oils Water Treatment Chemicals General Cleaning Fluids
(d) Bought For Service FunctionsChemicals For Copiers Adhesives Correcting Fluids Sodium Hypochlorite For Swimming Pools
(e) Produced By Other Means
"Legionella" and Other Micro-Organisms Engine Fumes Welding Fumes Ozone From Copiers

It will be seen that “substances” includes not only simple materials but mixtures, intermediates, waste and final products.

The first stage in the obtaining of necessary knowledge is to prepare a complete of all substances that are bought, used or made on the premises. The list could be produced by a number of individuals, some of whom may approach the subject by listing the work activities and deriving the list from an analysis. Others may carry out physical audits of the workplace, stores areas and the like to forma list of substances known to be physically present. A combination of these different lists will be more thorough than the list produced by any single individual.

The second stage is the production (and re-ordering) of the list in tabular form, so that progress reached can be easily noted and compared. It will be found simpler to begin with raw materials and follow with processes and the remainder.

The third stage is the marshalling of all necessary information about each substance, compound, mixture or “pure” chemical. A primary source for this information, but never the only source or the complete source, should be the: supplier. As. discussed in the previous section, data sheets provided by suppliers will rarely contain all the necessary information, and may only highlight hazards thought by the supplier to be of particular relevance. Also, the layout of data sheets may vary and some suppliers may limit the information provided deliberately or by default.

The completion of the data sheets forces the fourth stage or preparation. (Other sources of information are listed in the bibliography. (The assessor should be in possession of a current copy of at least one of the principal standard works on chemical hazards.)

Although some suppliers are reluctant to reveal the chemical] composition of their products on grounds of alleged commercial confidentiality, there can be few, if any, occasions on which commercial confidentiality can be justified as grounds for not supplying health and safety information. It is not possible to assess the control of a chemical adequately unless its nature is known. All chemical components of mixtures and proprietary products should be established and listed in the data sheet.

Once the data sheet is produced, it should be made readily available to any employee who may need the information, especially safety representatives. Training needs, which will be assessed regularly, will include the use of data sheets as well as the hazards associated with the specific substances encountered by trainees. A copy of the compiled data sheets should also be held by the person or persons responsible for first-aid.

The fifth stage of preparation consists of summarising the basic hazards of the substances. This information should already be present in the individual data sheets, and can usefully be tabulated alongside the name of the substances.

2. The Assessment Of Risk

The risk associated with a substance depends not only on its inherent properties (which have just been listed), but also upon the way it is to be used and the way in which it can be misused or mishandled. Before any control measures can be decided upon, every process using substances must be assessed. The depth of the assessment need not be the same in all cases, for instance if the substance concerned has a low hazard rating, or if the type of process means that exposure to the substance is likely to be low regardless of any control measures which may be applied. However, if the substance is already identified as hazardous, or the process is such that people will be exposed at high levels unless specific control measures are adopted, then an assessment with a satisfactory outcome will become a (written) justification for continuing to use the process or the substance. Sometimes the result of the assessment will be that the process should stop or be replaced by a safer one.

At this point, identify the substances which are defined as “substances hazardous to health”. These substances should be listed. The listing should contain three categories of substances:-

(a) Substances definitely classified as “hazardous to health”.

(b) Substances definitely not so classified.

(c) Substances needing further consideration or investigation.

Even for category (b), further evaluation should still be continued, of course, Since it is possible that the ways in which these substances are used in practice may make them hazardous by virtue of their quantity, temperature, etc. (Even though a substance may not be classed as “hazardous” under this scheme, it should be remembered that the assessment is a useful tool to identify all potentially hazardous substances, and it will be of value to pursue the assessment to ensure that even the lower-order hazards are adequately managed.)

Next, all the substances in the list should be reviewed to see where they are used on the premises. Each process should then be examined to see how the substances are used, what possibility there is for people to come into contact with them, the type of effect they can cause and the likely levels of exposure. The assessment must also look at chemical products, intermediates and possible products of an unwanted reaction, as well as the substances listed. (Fire and explosion risks should be investigated as well as the risks to health of substances and processes.) All the information necessary for doing this part of the assessment should already be contained on the hazard data sheets.

The assessment must also examine the possibility of substances becoming airborne as gas, vapour, dust or aerosol. Handling methods, spills or leaks and the possibility of ingestion must be considered, as airborne contaminants are not the only danger in the workplace. Ingestion and skin contact must also be evaluated. There may be a situation such as during work in tanks, sewers or other confined spaces, where vapours or gases may suddenly enter the workplace. Assessments need to consider all such possibilities.

Access the likely exposure of all those likely to become exposed. Special attention should be paid to recognising the possible presence of other people where the process is being carried out.

These assessments of exposure must then be compared with a known standard. These standards are generically referred to as “occupational exposure limits” (OELs). Most exposure limits are presented as concentrations in air of the substance concerned, as parts per million by volume in air (ppm) or weight per volume of air (mg/m3). Exposure limits are not to be regarded as dividing lines between safe and dangerous concentrations; rather they represent estimates based on more or less sound information of what people might reasonably be exposed to, day after day at work, without suffering obvious ill-effects. The exposure limits cannot safeguard everyone, some people already suffering from another disease may be at risk even if the exposure limit is met, others may be extra-sensitive. None of the lists offers standards on more than a few hundred of the many thousands of substances in regular use. These substances are given an OEL in EH40 produced by the Health and Safety Executive (UK) and available through Eolas.

If a substance is not in the list, it would be wise to set a local exposure limit, based on knowledge of the hazards of the substance and comparisons made with similar materials. Advice might valuably be sought from a toxicologist or other specialist adviser through EOLAS.

If the possibility of substances becoming airborne is low, and the concentration in air is thought unlikely ever to exceed a quarter of the OEL, then air sampling will not normally be needed. (Arranged through the Defence Advisory Group).

Whenever there is doubt as to the concentrations of hazardous substances in people’s breathing zones, or in the atmospheres of workplaces, then a carefully planned and suitable air sampling exercise should if possible be performed.

Similarly, if is suspected, as with some substances, that accumulation in the body is occurring, and there is an available biological monitoring technique for measuring this, then such a technique should be considered (i.e. blood/urine tests). Such tests are the province of the Director of Medical Services who will of course retain personal records:in accordance with regulations.

As regards both “operator breathing zone” and “static” air sampling, a wide variation in airborne concentrations across working shifts is likely to occur. The factors influencing this include: –

      1. the number of contaminant sources;
      2. the rates of release from each source:
      3. the nature and position of each source;
      4. the dispersion situation as influenced by ventilation, temperatures, etc;

The following further factors are also likely to influence the degree of personal exposure: –

      1. The work shift pattern;
      2. Reduced or nil exposure between shifts;
      3. Variation in process operation;
      4. Failure to follow precautions.

The main principles of planning and performing a responsible air sampling programme therefore include: –

      1. Always carefully monitor individual operator breathing zone concentrations (and not just background concentrations at static points).
      2. Do as much air sampling as reasonably practicable – the more results (if correctly interpreted) the greater likelihood of a correct overall conclusion.
      3. Carefully consider the suitability and stated accuracy of the air sampling and analytical technique(s) involved. (Such details are given in the HSE Methods for Detection of Hazardous Substances Series – “MDHS” Series). Further useful guidance is also given in HSE Guidance Note EH42 – (Monitoring Strategies for Toxic Substances). Sampling materials available from Eolas.
      4. Carefully record the results, conclusions and recommendations of each sampling exercise.

These steps, taken in sequence, will provide all necessary information on substance designated as “hazardous”. Decisions can then be made on the most appropriate controls.

SECTION 4 – CONTROL

At this stage in the assessment, information on the hazards of the materials and the likely exposure has been collected and tabulated. The final stage consists of making decisions on the best ways of controlling the hazards. This logical sequence of conducting the assessment permits review of existing control measures, which may well prove upon examination to be adequate. This can be stated, but it would be useful to note down what these measures are so that it can be demonstrated that a full assessment has indeed taken place on the date specified.

The techniques of control, in order of effectiveness, are:-

      • elimination (including process change);
      • substitution;
      • enclosure;
      • isolation;
      • local exhaust ventilation and reduced time exposure;
      • dilution ventilation;
      • use of personal protective equipment;
      • personal hygiene and washing facilities;
      • training.

Reviews of needs often reveal substances and processes which are no longer necessary. Otherwise, substitution is always the most desirable control followed by design and engineering techniques. Control systems which rely upon appropriate behaviour are always less effective than these and are more liable to failure. They each have a place in the effective management of chemical risks.

(a) Elimination/ Substitution

Can safer materials be used? There are some substances which should never be used. Others may be banned as a matter of policy. Rational justification should always be insisted upon from those who wish to use a more hazardous substance in preference to a less hazardous one.

(b) Enclosure

Can the material be handled so that individuals need never come into contact with it?

(c) Isolation

Can we put it somewhere else? The system of isolation is required to prevent access effectively, or certainly restrict access to those who need to be there.

(d) Reduced Time Exposure

As already indicated OEL’s are time-related and it may well be possible to keep below them by reducing the period(s) of exposure.

(e) Ventilation

When the hazard cannot be completely contained, ventilation systems can offer a possible solution. However, their design and installation is a specialised skill which must be done by competent ventilation engineers.

The two main methods of ventilation are general (dilution) ventilation and local exhaust ventilation (LEV). General ventilation allows the contaminant to be diluted by the introduction of fresh air into the workroom, This can be done by a general extractor fan, by blowing air into the room, or installation of air conditioning. Dilution ventilation of this kind can ensure that humidity and carbon dioxide levels are maintained within known limits, and is important generally for the control of the working environment.

It is also the preferred technique for controlling the atmosphere within a confined space. However, it is a very inefficient way of controlling specific air contaminant problems. For this, local exhaust ventilation is preferable since it captures emissions at source.

Ventilation systems only work well if they are used as intended and designed and when they are maintained in good condition. They require training of operators to use them effectively, and their performance must be monitored.

The best results are achieved by extracting contaminated air as close to the source as possible, or using an enclosure with extract ventilation such as a fume cupboard or paint spray booth.

(f) Personal Protective Equipment

The issuing of personal protective equipment against a hazard constitutes  an explicit statement that nothing further can be done to control exposure other than by requiring operators to wear and maintain a personal piece of equipment. It should be recognised by all concerned that personal protective equipment is the last line of defence, and should never be selected as the first or only option where other control measures such as those discussed above are available. Personal protective equipment will be needed, though, then the other control measures will not be feasible, or will offer only partial control. Systems for the selection, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment must be thorough. Training and information are required in the selection process, as well as in the correct use and maintenance of it.

(g) Personal Hygiene and Washing Facilities

Where hazardous substances present a risk, particularly of skin contact and/or ingestion, the value of good personal hygiene and provision of adequate washing facilities is self-evident.

(h) Training

To be effective, all the foregoing control measures need the backup of training for all concerned.

Monitoring Effectiveness

Assessment is only the first step in complying with Safety Regulations in the use of chemicals. It will be necessary to make sure that the control strategies set out in the assessment are followed and are effective. This is why they should be reviewed. Assessment requires not only a review of risks, but also a review of the measures used to control the risks. Purchasing procedures, quality control, permit-to-work systems and access to plant if isolation is the chosen strategy all offer examples of such measures.

After the assessment has been completed, consideration should be given to methods of publicising the results where appropriate. The information produced by the assessment is the kind which is intended to be given to employees and to safety representatives, who are entitled to receive it and be consulted by Commanding Officers. (Section 13 of Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act.)

SECTION 5 – ASSESSMENT SHEETS

SECTION 6 – BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS

General Texts

Chemicals – A Bibliography: List of Health and Safety Executive/Health and Safety Commission References. HSE, UK. ;

Guidance Notes in the Environmental Hygiene (EH) Series. HSE, HMSO, UK.

Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards. NIQOSH/OSHA, USA.

Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety. International Labour Office, Geneva.

Cashman J. R. Hazardous Materials Emergencies. Technomic Publishing Co., USA.

Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene. National Safety Council, USA.

Handbook of Occupational Hygiene. Kluwer Publishing Ltd., Brentford, Middlesex, UK.

Hazards Of Chemicals

Patty, F. A., Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology. Interscience Publishers, New York, USA

Encyclopedia of Chemical Toxicology. (2nd Edition). Kirk-Othmer, Wiley-Interscience, New York, USA.

Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS). NIOSH, USA.

Gleason M. N. et al. Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products. The Williams Wilkins Co., USA.

Sax N. I., Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials. Nan Nostrand Rheinhold Co., USA

Deichmann W. B. & Gervarde H. W. Toxicology of Drugs and Chemicals. Academic Press, USA

Stecher P. G. The Merck Index. Merck & Co. Inc., USA.

Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. NIOSH/OSHA, USA

Standards For Control And For labelling Of Chemicals

Occupation Exposure Limits for Airborne Toxic Substances. (Gives limits  other information on standards applied by a number of countries). International Labour Office, Geneva.

Occupational Exposure Limits – Guidance Note EH40. (Revised Annually). HSE, HMSO , UK.

Threshold Limit Values (TLVs} and Biological Exposure Indices. (Revised Annually) American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACHIH)  Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Information Approved for the Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances  (Authorised and Approved List) 1988. HMSO, UK.

Control Techniques

An Introduction to Local Exhaust Ventilation HS(G)37. Health and Safety Executive , HMSO, UK

The Industrial Environment – Its Evaluation & Control. (1973) NIOSH , USA.

Industrial Ventilation: A Manual of Recommended Practice. (17th Edition). American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) , USA.

Fundamentals Governing the Design and Operation of Local Exhaust Systems. (ANSI Standard Z9. 2). New York, USA.

CIBSE Guide. (Published in .sections). Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers London, UK.

Monitoring Techniques

Monitoring Strategies for Toxic Substances: Guidance Note EH42.
HSE, HMSO, UK .

Methods for the Determination of Hazardous Substances (IIDHS Series). HSE, UK.

Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual.
(Publication Number 77 – 173). NIOSH, USA

COMPUTER DATABASES

HSELINE

References acquired and produced by HSE Library and Information Services (UK ). Available through IRS-DIALTECH, Pergamon Infoline  and Prestel.

CISDOC

Produced by International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre, International Labour Office, Geneva (Switzerland). Available on-line through IRS-D IALTECH

CHEMICAL SAFETY NEWSBASE

Produced by Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). Available on-line through IRS-DIALTEC, Pergamon Infoline .

NIOSHTIC

Produced by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (USA). Available on-line through Pergamon Infoline.

RTECS

Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances. Produced by NIOSH (USA).

CONTACTS

EOLAS, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

IRS DIALTECH, Department of Trade and Industry, Room 392, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London, SWlE 6RB. (Telephone 071 – 215 6578).

PERGAMON ORBIT INFOLINE, 12 Vandy Street, London, EC2A 2DE. (Telephone 071 – 377 4650) .

SILVER PLATTER, 10 Barley Mow Passage, London , W4 4PW . (Telephone 081 – 995 8242).

NIFAST, Nore Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

A review of health effects associated with exposure to jet engine emissions in and around airports

Background

Airport personnel are at risk of occupational exposure to jet engine emissions, which similarly to diesel exhaust emissions include volatile organic compounds and particulate matter consisting of an inorganic carbon core with associated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and metals. Diesel exhaust is classified as carcinogenic and the particulate fraction has in itself been linked to several adverse health effects including cancer.

Photo of Alouette III No 196 showing soiling of the tail boom with soot from exhaust gasses.
Method

In this review, we summarize the available scientific literature covering human health effects of exposure to airport emissions, both in occupational settings and for residents living close to airports. We also report the findings from the limited scientific mechanistic studies of jet engine emissions in animal and cell models.

Beechcraft 200 Super King Air No 240 showing soiling of the engine panels with soot from exhaust gasses.
Results

Jet engine emissions contain large amounts of nano-sized particles, which are particularly prone to reach the lower airways upon inhalation. Size of particles and emission levels depend on type of aircraft, engine conditions, and fuel type, as well as on operation modes. Exposure to jet engine emissions is reported to be associated with biomarkers of exposure as well as biomarkers of effect among airport personnel, especially in ground-support functions. Proximity to running jet engines or to the airport as such for residential areas is associated with increased exposure and with increased risk of disease, increased hospital admissions and self-reported lung symptoms.

Conclusion

We conclude that though the literature is scarce and with low consistency in methods and measured biomarkers, there is evidence that jet engine emissions have physicochemical properties similar to diesel exhaust particles, and that exposure to jet engine emissions is associated with similar adverse health effects as exposure to diesel exhaust particles and other traffic emissions.

Read full article journal at BMC

*****

The layout of the Irish Air Corps base at Casement Aerodrome ensures that aircraft exhaust gasses are blown over populated sections of the airbase when winds are from the south, south east or south west. This includes hangars, offices, workshops and living in accommodation such as the apprentice hostel and married quarters. Calm weather also creates conditions where exhaust gasses linger in higher concentrations.

This results in all Irish Air Corps personnel (commissioned, enlisted, civilian & living-in family) being exposed to emissions from idling aircraft engines, emissions that are known to cause harm.

In the mid 1990s a study of air pollution adjacent to the ramp area at Baldonnel was commissioned. This report relating to this study has gone missing. 

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests increased prevalence of occupational asthma & adult onset asthma amongst serving & former personnel who served in Baldonnel or Gormanston aerodromes. 
  • Older gas turbine engines produce dirtier exhaust gasses.
  • Idling gas turbine engines produce dirtier exhaust gasses.
Below are some of the gas turbine powered Air Corps aircraft that were powered by elderly engine designs.
AircraftRetiredEngine FamilyFirst Run
Alouette III2007Turbomeca Artouste1947
Fouga Magister1999Turbomeca Marboré1951
Gazelle2005Turbomeca Astazou1957
King Air 2002009Pratt & Whitney Canada PT61960
Dauphin II2005Turbomeca Arriel1974

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‘IT’S A SCANDAL’ RAF airman who flew with Prince William proves rare cancer was caused by the Sea King chopper

AN airman who flew choppers with Prince William has proved his rare form of bone marrow cancer was caused by the RAF Sea King.

Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings was diagnosed with multiple myeloma after years of inhaling toxic exhaust fumes spewed from the powerful twin engines of the now retired aircraft.

Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings, who flew choppers with Prince William, has proved his rare form of bone marrow cancer was caused by the RAF Sea King

And last month, the winch operator won a settlement from the Ministry of Defence after a six-year legal battle. Zach has been paid an undisclosed sum and the MoD had to admit in writing his 15 years of service in the RAF caused his life-threatening condition.

It will likely spark concern for the royals. Wills flew the Sea King in 150 search-and-rescue operations over a three-year period.  It is not known if he was affected by the fumes. Prince Andrew also flew the aircraft in the Falklands in 1982.

And The Sun can lift the lid on an apparent government cover-up of the issue.  Bombshell documents uncovered by Zach during his legal fight prove experts warned the MoD of the dangers of the Sea King exhaust as far back as 1999 but nothing was done.

Zach, 42, of Cardiff, said: “The Government chose to ignore it. It’s a scandal.”

Read more on the The sun

Dáil Éireann Written Answers 21/07/20 – No internal investigation into Irish Air Corps safety failures

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

QUESTION NO: 353

To ask the Minister for Defence the actions he, his officials, the Chief of Staff Branch, Air Corps headquarters and or the State Claims Agency has taken to investigate the reasons for the non-compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 1989 and 2005 at the Air Corps as stated by the Health and Safety Authority investigation which concluded after nearly three years in September 2018; and the steps taken at all levels to ensure the same failings to do not occur again in the Air Corps or the other branches of the Defence Forces. [16654/20]

Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)

I wish to assure the Deputy that the health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a high priority for me, my Department and the military authorities.

The Deputy will be aware that following three inspections at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel during 2016, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) issued a Report of Inspection to the Air Corps on 21 October, 2016. This report listed a number of advisory items for follow up, including the areas of risk assessments, safety statements and the provision and use of personal protective equipment.

The resultant Air Corps improvement plan confirmed the Air Corps’ full commitment to implementing improved safety measures that protect workers and ensure risks are as low as reasonably practicable.

The Air Corps improvement plan was implemented over eight phases, which the military authorities have advised are now complete, with phase eight, chemical awareness training and respiratory equipment training, being a continuous process.

The HSA has formally noted the high level of cooperation received and the considerable progress made to date by the Air Corps in this regard and their investigation is now closed.

A wide range of other measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of those serving in the Air Corps including monitoring exposure levels, conducting annual occupational medical screening, audits and training.

As the health and wellbeing of the men and women working in the Air Corps is a priority, the former Minister ensured that allegations relating to exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel were independently reviewed. The independent report considered the Defence Forces health and safety regime, its current policy and its application and made a number of observations including in relation to documentation, health surveillance, and exposure to monitoring. The report was published on the Department’s website following its circulation to those who made disclosures.

The Air Corps and the wider Defence organisation is committed to complying with health and safety legislation. The organisation is proactive in ensuring that the best standards are adhered to in order to ensure that the risk to human health is as low as reasonably practicable.

The Deputy will appreciate that as litigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.

*****

It would have offered some small comfort to survivors of the Irish Air Corps chemical exposure tragedy if the recently re-appointed Minister Coveney had stated that the health & welfare of former personnel who served at Casement Aerodrome was also high priority for him, his Department and the military authorities but alas he chose not to do so at this time.

In terms of the “high level of cooperation” and the “full commitment to implementing improved safety measures” we must be very clear, the Health & Safety Authority threatened legal action if the Irish Air Corps did not comply with their instructions to improve conditions at Baldonnel.

To say there was a high level of cooperation is nonsense because the Air Corps had no choice but to comply. It is akin to a drunk driver crashing into a cafe & injuring scores of people then having a judge praise their cooperation once caught. 

Calling the orders of the HSA “advisory” is also a subtle attempt to downplay the seriousness of the problems discovered. But yes issuing PPE such as gloves, respirators, eye protection and also providing chemical safety training 28 years after they became mandatory is indeed “great progress”. 

But why was no disciplinary process started within the Defence Forces to hold to account those in management who presided over the decades long health & safety shambles?

Current Irish Air Corps compliance with workplace Health & Safety legislation is merely a veneer. There has been no change to safety culture and the Formation Safety Office is severely under resourced and with no dedicated H&S enforcement personnel.

Surprisingly, Vice Admiral Mellett told an Air Corps campaigner recently that it is difficult to change the safety culture of an organisation like the Air Corps. If only the Chief of Staff ahad powerful enforcement tool at his disposal such as military law to force such a culture change through quickly?

When there is a will there is a way, unfortunately decades on from the Army deafness scandal, the insular Defence Forces still don’t understand true Health & Safety from the bottom to the very top of the organisation and without proper understanding there is no will to change. 

In terms of the independent third party investigation it was neither independent nor third party. While there may have been initial attempts to find an independent third party specialist with toxicological or chemical experience, the last government eventually decided to appoint a recently retired barrister from the office of the Attorney General. This is an office of the state that is being sued by former Air Corps personnel so by no stretch of the imagination was this investigator independent nor third party, he was a retired civil servant still on the payroll of the state.

The so called “O’Toole report” is striking because the investigator states at the very start of the report that he was not qualified to undertake the investigation he was tasked to carry out.

My expertise is in the area of law and in carrying out this review it was my intention to examine compliance by the Air Corps with the relevant law and regulation. I was not in a position to consider the substances in use or any implications for human health arising from such use as these issues are outside my competence. The allegations concern both the current health and safety regime and compliance with that regime in a period stretching back over 20 years.

That Minister Coveney can point to this investigation as something worthwhile is stretching credibility. Essentially, the reason for appointing O’Toole was to slow down the  need for a political response to the problem and to ultimately justify doing zero to help save lives & reduce suffering of exposed Air Corps personnel. 

The “O’Toole Report” officially known as the “Report of the Independent Reviewer – Protected Disclosures – Air Corps” can be read in full via the link below.

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2250a7-report-of-the-independent-reviewer-protected-disclosures-air-corps/

The Risk Management Section of the State Claims Agency audited Irish Air Corps compliance with Health & Safety for a decade before the Health & Safety Authority were forced to intervene to stop the ongoing unprotected exposure of the workforce to carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants & toxic chemicals at Casement Aerodrome.

The HSA file was opened in January 2016 and was only closed in September 2018 but the “superb” health & safety performance of the Air Corps for the decade prior to HSA intervention allowed the State Claims Agency & NTMA to justify discretionary performance-related payments for their own personnel & senior management. 

The State Claims agency earned bonus pay for improvements in Air Corps health & safety risk profile while the very same same Air Corps continued to seriously harm serving personnel through lack of even the most basic health & safety measures.

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Particulate matter from aircraft engines affects airways

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), seven million people worldwide die as a consequence of air pollution every year. For around 20 years, studies have shown that air-borne particulate matter negatively affects human health. Now, in addition to already investigated particle sources like emissions from heating systems, industry and road traffic, aircraft turbine engine particle emissions have also become more important.

Photo of Alouette III No 196 showing soiling of the tail boom with soot from exhaust gasses.

In a unique, innovative experiment, researchers have investigated the effect of exhaust particles from aircraft turbine engines on human lung cells.

The cells reacted most strongly to particles emitted during ground idling.

It was also shown that the cytotoxic effect is only to some extent comparable to that of particles from gasoline and diesel engines.The primary solid particles, i.e. those emitted directly from the source, have the strongest effect on people in its immediate vicinity. 

Now a multidisciplinary team, led by lung researcher Marianne Geiser of the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Bern, together with colleagues from Empa Dübendorf and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), has shown that primary soot particles from kerosene combustion in aircraft turbine engines also cause direct damage to lung cells and can trigger an inflammatory reaction if the solid particles are inhaled in the direct vicinity of the engine.

The researchers demonstrated for the first time that the damaging effects also depend on the operating conditions of the turbine engine, the composition of the fuel, and the structure of the generated particles.

Beechcraft 200 Super King Air No 240 showing soiling of the engine panels with soot from exhaust gasses.

Extremely small particles in the nanoscale range

Particles emitted from aircraft turbine engines are generally ultrafine, i.e. smaller than 100 nm. By way of comparison, a human hair has a diameter of about 80,000 nm. When inhaled, these nanoparticles — like those from other combustion sources -efficiently deposit in the airways. In healthy people, the well-developed defense mechanisms in the lungs normally take care of rendering the deposited particles ineffective and removing them from the lungs as quickly as possible.

However, if the inhaled particles manage to overcome these defense mechanisms, due to their structure or physico-chemical properties, there is a danger for irreparable damage to the lung tissue. This process, already known to researchers from earlier experiments with particle emissions from gasoline and diesel engines, has now also been observed for particle emissions from aircraft engines.

Toxicity depends on the operating conditions of the turbines and the type of fuel

Evidence of increased cell membrane damage and oxidative stress in the cell cultures was identified. Oxidative stress accelerates ageing of cells and can be a trigger for cancer or immune system diseases.

Overall, according to the researchers, it has been demonstrated that the cell-damaging effect caused by exposure to particles generated by the combustion of gasoline, diesel and kerosene fuel are comparable for similar doses and exposure times.

Additionally, a similar pattern was found in the secretion of inflammatory cytokines after exposure to gasoline and kerosene fuel particles.

Aerosols: distance from the source is crucial

Aerosols are the finest solid or fluid substance suspended in the air. In combustion processes, the composition of ultrafine particles is highly variable. In addition, aerosols are unstable, and they are modified after their formation. Primary ultrafine solid particles have a high diffusion velocity. As a result, at high concentrations such particles either stick together or attach to other particles. Therefore, the effect of primary ultrafine particles depends on the distance from the source, implying that there is a difference depending on whether a person is close to the source (such as people at the roadside ) or at a greater distance (aircraft taxiing or taking off). Further research is needed to clarify how strong the impact would be at a greater distance from an aircraft engine

Read full article in ScienceDaily

*****

The layout of the Irish Air Corps base at Casement Aerodrome ensures that aircraft exhaust gasses are blown over populated sections of the airbase when winds are from the south, south east or south west. This includes hangars, offices, workshops and living in accommodation such as the apprentice hostel and married quarters. Calm weather also creates conditions where exhaust gasses linger in higher concentrations.

This results in all Irish Air Corps personnel (commissioned, enlisted, civilian & family) being exposed to emissions from idling aircraft engines, emissions that are known to cause harm.

In the mid 1990s a study of air pollution adjacent to the ramp area at Baldonnel was commissioned. This report relating to this study has gone missing. 

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests increased prevalence of occupational asthma & adult onset asthma amongst serving & former personnel who served in Baldonnel or Gormanston aerodromes. 
  • Older gas turbine engines produce dirtier exhaust gasses.
  • Idling gas turbine engines produce dirtier exhaust gasses.
Below are some of the gas turbine powered Air Corps aircraft that were powered by elderly engine designs.
AircraftRetiredEngine FamilyFirst Run
Alouette III2007Turbomeca Artouste1947
Fouga Magister1999Turbomeca Marboré1951
Gazelle2005Turbomeca Astazou1957
King Air 2002009Pratt & Whitney Canada PT61960
Dauphin II2005Turbomeca Arriel1974

DELAY – DENY – DIE

RAAF jet fuel damaged ground crews’ body cells; long-term consequences unknown, says groundbreaking research

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel who worked with widely used jet fuel suffered damage to their body’s cells with unknown long-term consequences, according to groundbreaking research released after a Freedom of Information laws request.

Defence’s senior physician in occupational and environmental medicine, Dr Ian Gardner, described the findings as a “part of the puzzle” and a hypothesis-making study”, and pointed it out that it was one of a series of pieces of research currently underway.

“What it shows is there is evidence of small but persistent cellular damage,” Dr Gardner told the ABC. He said it was not yet clear what the long-term effects of that damage might be.

“For the future though there are a lot of other aircraft maintenance workers who have done similar jobs on other aircraft types, and now Defence and DVA and Air Force are considering what additional work should be done in relation to those other people who are not actually on the F-111 programs but have done essentially similar work,” Dr Gardner said.

The Jet Fuel Syndrome Study also shows that the fuel is more toxic to the body’s cells than the two solvents initially blamed for the sickness suffered by the deseal/reseal workers, and that the toxicity is even higher when those solvents and the fuel were mixed.

The results of the research project, headed by Professor Francis Bowling of Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, were handed to Defence last September, and have been the subject of significant scrutiny and review due to the potential significance of the findings.

They will give heart to former and serving Defence personnel who believe they have been left out in the cold by Defence after developing serious health complaints while working with fuel and other substances.

Read full article on ABC Australia from 2015

*****

Junior Minister with responsibility for Defence said in the Dáil that he was assured by the Irish Air Corps that the RAAF F1-11 deseal/reseal exposure tragedy is completely different to any exposures at the Irish Air Corps.

Was the minister suggesting that Irish Air Corps gas turbine engines don’t run on jet fuel?

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Dutch Neurologist Warns of ‘Parkinson’s Pandemic’ Linked to Toxic Chemicals

As the world frantically battles coronavirus, a leading Dutch neurologist warns of the next global pandemic — and this one, he says, is almost entirely of our own making.

Bastiaan Bloem, MD, a neurologist and professor at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, says that over the next 20 years, the number of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) will likely double — from the present 6.5 million to more than 13 million.

The main cause of this exponential jump: widespread exposure to herbicides, solvents, and other toxic chemicals used in agriculture and manufacturing.

“A pandemic, as everybody is now painfully aware, is a disease happening worldwide, to which no one is immune. PD fulfills all those criteria,” Bloem told Parkinson’s News Today in a phone interview from the Netherlands.

“Parkinson’s is now the fastest-growing neurological condition on the planet.”

Bloem, 53, points to the tight link between exposure to herbicides such as paraquat — a weed killer — and the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

“These chemicals were introduced worldwide after World War II, and many are still used today on our fields,” he said. “For this reason, farmers are at a markedly increased risk of developing Parkinson’s. If you feed a mouse paraquat — which is banned in China but not the U.S. — it will kill the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. These chemicals are tremendously toxic to the brain and have even been detected in milk, in supermarkets.”

Paraquat isn’t the only such chemical posing this risk. Trichloroethylene, a solvent used to clean metals and remove stains, has exactly the same effect on human brains. Yet it’s still widely used and is detectable in high concentrations in groundwater, he said.

“Parkinson’s is exploding in numbers, it’s a horribly debilitating disease, and it’s a costly disease that should matter to people and governments. We’re doing this to ourselves,” Bloem said. “But we can do something about it. We need to get rid of these toxic pesticides and move toward organic food. And we should take measures to protect people who work in these toxic environments.”

Read full article Parkinson’s News Today

Dutch Neurologist Warns of ‘Parkinson’s Pandemic’ Linked to Toxic Chemicals

*****

Trichloroethylene was used in Baldonnel for decades with ERF in particular receiving it in 220 litre drums. From ERF it was handed out without any precautions or training to anyone who asked for it. It was handed out in milk cartons, plastic coke bottles etc.

Trichloroethylene was used by all hangars & workshops in an ad-hoc basis usually with Trichloroethylene begged from ERF although some units did order it themselves. Personnel in the Air Corps museum also used Trike to help degrease parts & aircraft being restored for the museum. 

Trichloroethylene was also used by both apprentices, tech & line personnel to carry out cleaning tasks in the Air Corps Training Depot while on training courses or during “war week”.

In at least 2 separate instances some floors in ACTD were completely destroyed by the use of Trichloroethylene being left overnight to clean them. In one incident Trichloroethylene dissolved through a traditional lino floor as far as the backing twine and in another incident few years later a tiled floor was destroyed after the tiles shriveled up & shrunk after Trichloroethylene  was left overnight to clean a floor.

Trichloroethylene was also used by teenage apprentices to clean black marks off floors in the Apprentice Hostel and the Apprentice School.

At no point was anyone ever given training in the use of Trichloroethylene nor issued with appropriate PPE whilst working with the chemical.

A number of Irish Air Corps personnel have been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease

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Former Defence Forces mechanic wins appeal over order halting damages claim

Court of Appeal overturns High Court finding over action time limits

A former aircraft mechanic with the Defence Forces has won his appeal against an order halting his damages action over injuries allegedly suffered as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals at work.

The Court of Appeal overturned a High Court finding that Ian Coughlan’s action was brought outside the applicable time limits and thus bound to fail.

The High Court relied on inadmissible evidence in coming to that finding, the three judge Court of Appeal held in its judgment on Wednesday.

The application to halt the case must now be reconsidered in line with the Court of Appeal’s findings.

 

Mr Justice Noonan said Mr Coughlan, both during and after his employment with the Defence Forces, attended a large number of doctors about his complaints. Mr Coughlan himself has long believed there was an association between his complaints and his working environment but says he was repeatedly assured by doctors he was wrong about this, the judge noted.

Mr Coughlan says it was only in November 2011, when he got a verbal opinion from a clinical toxico-pathologist, a Professor Howard, that he became aware of a causal link between his symptoms and his employment.

He claimed that was his date of knowledge for his cause of action and, because his proceedings were issued in 2013, they were within the two – year limit stipulated in the Statute of Limitations Act.

The defendants argued his date of knowledge long pre-dated the November 2011 opinion. They said he had seen a toxicologist, a Dr Wood, in London in 2008 and exhibited a January 2009 report by Dr Wood in arguing his claim was statute barred.

The judge found an objection by counsel for Mr Coughlan to the admissibility of the Wood report on hearsay grounds was “well-founded”. The Wood report had the same status as a document produced in the course of discovery, it does not prove itself and it was inadmissible as hearsay, he held.

Even if the report was properly admitted and properly proved, fair procedures required its contents should have been put to Mr Coughlan in cross-examination to give him a fair opportunity to deal with it, he also held.

Read full article on the Irish Times website below…

*****

It should be noted that in order to comply with a recent Supreme Court order in relation to a separate case the Irish Air Corps have until the 6th of April to provide a full list of toxic workplace chemicals they have withheld from former personnel. 

Delay – Deny – Die

Former Defence Forces mechanic wins appeal over order halting ‘chemicals’ damages claim

A former aircraft mechanic with the Defence Forces has won his appeal against an order halting his damages action over injuries allegedly suffered as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals at work.

The Court of Appeal overturned a High Court finding that Ian Coughlan’s action was brought outside the applicable time limits and thus bound to fail.

In proceedings against the Minister for Defence and the State, he alleges he was exposed to toxic chemicals used for degreasing aircraft parts, was not provided with proper protection against the effects of those and suffered personal injuries.

Among various claims, he alleges he suffered dizziness, skin rashes, nasal irritation, sores, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue and headaches, skin yellowness and bloody diarrhoea.

Mr Justice Noonan said Mr Coughlan, both during and after his employment with the Defence Forces, attended a large number of doctors about his complaints. Mr Coughlan himself has long believed there was an association between his complaints and his working environment but says he was repeatedly assured by doctors he was wrong about this, the judge noted.

Mr Coughlan says it was only in November 2011, when he got a verbal opinion from a clinical toxico-pathologist, a Professor Howard, he became aware of a causal link between his symptoms and his employment.

He claimed that was his date of knowledge for his cause of action and, because his proceedings were issued in 2013, they were within the two year limit stipulated in the Statute of Limitations Act.

The defendants argued his date of knowledge long pre-dated the November 2011 opinion. They said he had seen a toxicologist, a Dr Wood, in London in 2008 and exhibited a January 2009 report by Dr Wood in arguing his claim was statute barred.

Mr Coughlan said in an affidavit Dr Wood was “very much limited” in expressing an opinion as to any causal connection between his employment and his injuries because of a lack of information available to the doctor concerning the chemicals and solvents to which he had been exposed.

Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…

*****

It should be noted that in order to comply with a recent Supreme Court order in relation to a separate case the Irish Air Corps have until the 6th of April to provide a full list of toxic workplace chemicals they have withheld from former personnel. 

Delay – Deny – Die

Protestors encourage voters not to give Paul Kehoe any preference votes

Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe is being targeted by former members of the Defence Forces who are trying to encourage voters in the forthcoming General Election not to vote for him.

The former Fine Gael chief whip has been a Fine Gael TD for County Wexford since he was first elected to the Dáil in May 2002 and a Minister of State for Defence since 2016.

In the last election, he secured a seat in the Dáil by beating his nearest rival Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen by just 52 votes.

Protestors are targeting his constituency offices and those of his party colleagues Michael D’Arcy.

They want to encourage people not to give Deputy Kehoe any preference votes, which helped get him elected the last time round.

The protesters are former members of the Air Corps who belong to the Air Corps Chemical Abuse Survivors (ACCAS) who claim they suffer illnesses due to their exposure to toxic chemicals while working for the Air Corps.

According to the group, Minister Kehoe has done little or nothing to help them get the medical support and health screening services they want.

Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…

*****

Please view the honourable & fair demands of
Air Corps Chemical Abuse Survivors
 here.

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