Following queries made by REA members, the REA has compiled a list of useful resources related to Health & Safety (H&S) measures in relation to bioaerosols and lung function testing at composting sites.
Documents by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), specifically AG7, outline the hazards (including dust levels and bio-aerosols) that can occur in composting facilities, measures that can and should be taken to limit exposure of operation employees, and health surveillance. Specifically on health surveillance, AG7 states a requirement to survey for asthma where there “is a reasonable likelihood that asthma may occur”, which suggests that requirements for such testing could be needed only if there are insufficient measures taken to mitigate the risk in the first place.
Further to this, please see the following resources for further information on the risks and mitigatory measures that can be taken in relation to bio-aerosols and general H&S for composting facilities:
- HSE, 2016: “AG7: Composting“
- HSE, 2010: “Bioaerosol emissions from waste composting and the potential for workers’ exposure“
- HSE, 2022: “G402: Health surveillance for occupational asthma“
- Waste Industry Health and Safety Forum (WISH), 2021: “Health Surveillance for the Waste and Recycling Industry“
- HSE: “Composting – Recycling biodegradable waste“