How the general situation can be improved by several single measurements

Team Styria is one of the biggest Austrian sheltered employers with about 380 employees, among whom 70% are disabled. The site in Kapfenberg/Styria alone has 81 employees, amid them 64 exposed to carcinogens, in the form of welding fumes and dust, containing chrome (VI) and nickel. In 2014 the site had the second highest rate of premature physical examinations in Austria. A close cooperation between the enterprises’ prevention and safety experts and the AUVA (Austrians workers’ compensation board) provided a tight-knit package of measurements which increased the situation drastically in the following 3 years. The speed and efficiency of the improvement is remarkable, especially under the aspect of the individual possibilities and special needs of the mostly handicapped employees.

The following measurements were taken:

Instead of a mobile extraction system, a stationary one and further mechanical ventilation is used
A dropping shaft for used workwear was installed

Yearly and occasional related instructions by safety experts and occupational physicians about dangers, protection measurements, workplace hygiene, personal protective equipment etc.
Every 6 months instructions about respiratory protection and its use
Regular cleaning of the floor
The consequent implementation of the measurements and occasion related refresher training
Two lockers for each employee – one for private and one for work clothes
Additional locker for the welding helmet

In highly contaminated areas additional respiratory protection independent of ambient air
Planned skin protection
Three sets of working clothes for each employee

Due to these measurements in only three years, the following results could be obtained:
→ Exposure to pollutants could be drastically decreased, sometimes even below the limit of determination
→ Premature physical examinations occur only occasionally
→ The rate of physical examinations below the reference value increased.


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Katrin Arthaber
Labour Inspectorate
  • Welding fumes
  • Chromium
  • Nickel
  • Dust
Solution types
  • 2. T – Technical measurements
  • 3. O – Organizational measurements
  • 4. P – Personal protection