NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Automotive industry.

Rosenman KD
Occupational and environmental lung diseases: diseases from work, home, outdoor, and other exposures. Tarlo SM, Cullinan P, Nemery B, eds. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2010 Nov; :211-222
The production of automobiles and trucks is a major worldwide industry. There are approximately 4 million auto and truck production workers worldwide with major growth in the industry occurring in Asian-Pacific countries. Historically vehicle production was vertically integrated within one company. That company would manufacture most of their own metal and plastic parts and then assemble them into vehicles. This business model has shifted in the last couple of decades. With in-house parts manufacture being spun off as independent companies so that now 75% of autoworkers work for companies that produce vehicle parts and 25% work for companies that assemble the final vehicles. Since vehicle production is a worldwide industry, the percentage of workers in vehicle assembly vs vehicle parts production in any given country varies. Of the 1 million autoworkers in the USA, 75% are in vehicle parts manufacturing facilities; in contrast, in Belgium almost 90% of vehicle workers work in assembly facilities. This distribution between vehicle assembly and parts manufacturing is important from the health care provider's perspective. Vehicle parts manufacturing has significantly more respiratory hazards since it involves processes such as casting metal parts in foundries, machining metal parts, manufacturing foam products and extruding and injecting plastic into molds. In contrast, vehicle assembly requires a great deal of material handling as the various parts are assembled into the final vehicle. Accordingly the major health concern in vehicle assembly facilities involves musculoskeletal conditions. However, there are respiratory concerns in assembly facilities. Important activities in vehicle assembly that generate respiratory hazards are welding, painting and the use of adhesives. Another contrast between parts manufacture and assembly is that vehicle assembly facilities are more likely to be larger corporate entities: six corporations produce 75% of the world's vehicle production while just in the USA there are 5000-8000 vehicle parts manufacturers. This difference in corporate structure would suggest that the larger assembly facilities will have more expertise and resources to address health and safety issues than many of the smaller vehicle parts manufacturers. This chapter will examine the respiratory hazards in vehicle assembly and parts manufacturing.
Automotive-industry; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Metalworking-fluids; Metalworking; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Hypersensitivity; Bronchial-asthma; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-disorders; Paints; Solvents; Solvent-vapors
101-68-8; 822-06-0
Publication Date
Document Type
Tarlo SM; Cullinan P; Nemery B
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Source Name
Occupational and environmental lung diseases: diseases from work, home, outdoor, and other exposures
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division