Occupational exposure environment, risk factors, and hazard awareness of metal sculptors and artist welders in the U.S.
J Environ Health Res 2006 Apr; 5(1):17-28
Although there have been significant efforts to understand the exposure conditions of industrial welders, artists who weld to create art objects have been overlooked in the past. In order to better understand work environment and occupational health and safety practices of artist welders/metal sculptors, we administered a questionnaire to two sample populations of artists. These populations came from a database of metal sculptors across the U.S., and from attendees of a regional sculptors' workshop in the Southeastern U.S. A total of 93 national and 23 regional artists completed the questionnaire, with response rates of 81.6% and 79.5%, respectively. The questionnaire sought data on demographics; exposure attributes (type of welding process, base metals, electrodes/wires used); risk factors (exposure time, frequency and duration of welding); work environment (location of workspace, use and type of ventilation in the workspace); and exposure control measures employed (type of personal protective equipment used) and awareness about health hazards associated with welding fume exposures. The most commonly employed welding process and base metal were Metal Inert Gas welding and mild steel, respectively. Although the artists' work places varied, welding in studios, garages, shops, and outdoors was common. Respiratory protection was not consistently used, and was primarily limited to non-welding activities, such as cutting, grinding, and coating application. Our data for exposure time, exposure frequency, ventilation use and type, and PPE use and type indicate that a segment of the artist welder population may potentially be a high-risk population due to longer work hours and a lack of proper ventilation and exposure control measures. It is essential to target this artist population in order to provide occupational health and safety training programmes specifically tailored to their employment needs, to reduce their health risks and to increase health hazard awareness related to their work practices.
Welders; Artists; Metal-workers; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Risk-factors; Workers; Work-environment; Ventilation; Personal-protective-equipment; Health-hazards; Fumes; Welding; Metal-dusts; Metal-fumes; Sculptors; Risk-factors; Environmental-exposure; Controlled-environment;
Author Keywords: arts; environmental health; exposure; hazard awareness; metals; occupational; sculptor; risk; welders; welding
Serap Erdal, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois, 2121 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612
Journal of Environmental Health Research
University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health