The report, which was published in March of this year, drew from 3 surveys carried out over the past two years - 2 by the National Hazard Exposure Worker Surveillance (NHEWS) (March 2011 and 2012); and 1 review of patch testing data gathered over 18 years at a Victorian referral clinic specialising in OCD (March 2012).
The report stated that: ‘smaller workplaces were least likely to provide the surveyed control measures and most likely to provided none of the control measures to exposed workers’.
But, Alsco has pointed out that the EcoSafe Washer is as ideally suited for use in small garages and mechanics workshops as it is larger such businesses, and can fill the void in OCD protection that seems to exist between small and large operations.
"The EcoSafe Washer is designed for engine and industrial parts washing service providers of all sizes," an Alsco spokesperson says.
"It has a proven ability to vastly reduce the level of exposure workers have to hazardous substances by employing a natural process called bioremediation. But it’s also been made affordable through a rental service, so a large capital outlay is not required."
It is common knowledge that mechanics traditionally use hazardous substances when washing engine parts, absorbing toxins in the process either through their skin or by ingestion or inhalation. This has led to health problems ranging from respiratory difficulties to headaches and, particularly, different forms of dermatitis.
According to the review of OCD data from Victoria, 75% of the 2,900 cases of skin disease treated at the clinic between 1993 and 2010 were considered to be either substantially or partially work-related.
Water and wet work were found to be the most common causes of ICD (irritant contact dermatitis), where a chemical substance irritates the skin rather than causes an allergic reaction. The vast majority of ICD cases (89.9%) were considered to be 'substantially' work-related, with exposure to oils, coolants and solvents behind most cases amongst men.
However, it is the use of the Bioremediation process that ensures workers are better protected against all forms of OCD, and so can contribute significantly to an improvement in workplace health levels.
Bioremediation is a natural process which utilises a water-based fluid and micro-organisms in a filter mat to convert hydrocarbons and chemical elements into environmentally friendly water and carbon dioxide. The washing solution is pH-neutral and non-caustic, so it will not dry, crack or irritate the skin, while the microbes used are non-pathogenic and completely safe to humans.
Microbes work by aggressively attacking and breaking down oil and grease. They are classified as American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Class I. Organisms in this classification have no recognized hazard potential under ordinary conditions of handling.
The Ecosafe Washer is unique amongst parts washers and is the first of its kind available in Australia. But, it is its affordability that Alsco says makes it the ideal solution for small workshops and garages.
"Many small and medium-sized businesses providing engine and industrial parts cleaning services face a challenge in meeting the recommended levels of health and safety in the workplace. The EcoSafe Washer helps to make compliance easier," Alsco says.
"It is the safest and most effective parts washer available on the market, both in terms of workplace environment and the environment in general, and it is easily affordable. And since our rental service is fully managed by us, the highest standards are continually maintained."
And, because no hazardous substances are used, there is little need for protective clothing (gloves, masks etc) and, because of the reduced health risk, worker insurance premiums fall.
Alsco has been the premier provider of professional and friendly rental services throughout Australasia since 1962 (www.alsco.com.au). The national company has a rich heritage of reliable, tailored service and continues to expand its offerings into new and exciting fields. Alsco is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Steiner Corporation, an international organisation with a history that stretches back to 1889.
More information on the Ecosafe Washer is available at the EcoSafe Washer websites, or call 1300 136 784.
Media Contact Information: Jane Lawrence, 1300 659 892, [email protected]
, PO Box 873, Pymble NSW 2073.
Reference Material and Further Reading at the Safe Work Australia website
1. National Hazard Exposure Worker Surveillance: Wet Work Exposure and the Provision of Wet Work Control Measures in Australian Workplaces
2. National Hazard Exposure Worker Surveillance: Chemical exposure and the provision of chemical exposure control measures in Australian Workplaces
3. Occupational Contact Dermatitis: A Review of 18 Years of Data from an Occupational Dermatology Clinic in Australia
-- ENDS –