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Chapter 103 - Guide to Occupations


Alexander Donagi and Avraham Aladjem


At present, there is no handbook, manual or other single source which contains the essential data on the various occupational hazards which exist in specific occupations. The variety of the occupations is so great that not even experienced specialists—safety engineers, industrial hygienists, industrial physicians, consultants and researchers—can be familiar with all the hazards existing in each specific occupation. Therefore, occupational safety and health (OSH) experts must search information in the very extensive relevant professional literature and databases and, sometimes, have to scan scores of technical documents. Such searches are complicated, tedious, time-consuming and require access to specialized information sources. Usually, they are beyond the ability and resources of an OSH field worker (industrial hygienist, safety officer, inspector, occupational physician, sanitarian or instructor), and much beyond the possibilities of a non-professional (plant manager, safety committee member or employees’ representative). As a result, quite frequently an OSH worker comes to the workplace without adequate preliminary technical preparation.

This was realized many years ago. An early attempt to create a practical list of hazards according to occupations was undertaken by A.D. Brandt in his 1946 book Industrial Health Engineering. Brandt presented a compilation of about 1,300 various occupations with the relevant occupational hazards in each occupation. The total number of hazards listed was roughly 150, most of them chemical hazards. Since Brandt’s pioneering effort, no systematic work was carried out on the subject, except for a few partial lists related to limited aspects of occupational hazards. However, there were some other efforts in this field, such as the 1964 book Accident Research: Methods and Approaches, by W. Haddon, E.A. Suchman and D. Klein, which attempted to classify the various types of accidents; a “table of health hazards listed by occupation”, which appeared in the 1973 book Work Is Dangerous to Your Health, by J.M. Stellman and S.M. Daum; a set of partial lists of “potential occupational exposures” published in 1977 in the comprehensive National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) monograph Occupational Diseases: A Guide to their Recognition; and a list of about 1,000 various potential health hazards that might exist in about 2,000 different occupations, which was compiled in 1973 by the School of Medicine of Tel-Aviv University.

All of the projects mentioned above suffer from a number of shortcomings: they are not up-to-date; the lists are only partial and refer to specific aspects rather than to the entire OSH field; and they deal mostly with the chronic occupational hygiene aspect, neglecting largely the safety and acute aspects of the problem. Moreover, none of those lists is in a concise, practical form, such as a pocket-size and easy-to-use manual, or separate single cards that could be used directly in the field.

A compilation of 100 “hazard cards”, in Hebrew, was recently prepared for the Israeli Ministry of Health and deals with the various hazards to which this ministry’s employees (mostly hospital staff and field workers) are exposed. In preparing this compilation, different United Nations and International Labour Organization (ILO) documents related to the classification of occupations and economic activities were used, as were various documents issued by the Commission of the European Communities (CEC) within the framework of its International Programme on Chemical Safety.

The experience gained during the above work gave rise to the idea of starting a project of International Safety Datasheets on Occupations that has been subsequently endorsed by the ILO’s International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) and is currently in progress. For this chapter of the Encyclopaedia, a number of such datasheets has been selected, in order to demonstrate a systematic approach that would be widely applicable and not confined to any specific professional domain. From this point of view, the selection was based on two main criteria: broad diversity of selected occupations with regard to the types of activities involved and their relative risk and the “cross-boundary” character of each occupation, i.e. its presence in many fields of economy.

Methodological Aspects

A consistent conceptual and procedural framework has been elaborated and used in the preparation of the datasheets. It is organized around a checklist, or matrix, serving as a guideline for a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the hazards existing in a given occupation. While helping to reveal and evaluate different hazards that may be present in the occupation, this checklist has an additional function of serving as a template, according to which a hazard datasheet is actually compiled (see table 103.1).

Table 103.1 Checklist (template)



Job profile

Definition and/or description

Related and specific occupations


Primary equipment used

Industries in which this occupation is common


Accident hazards

Mechanical and general

– Machinery accidents

– Transport accidents

– Falls of persons (e.g., slips, trips on the level, from heights, from a moving vehicle, etc.)

– Falls of heavy objects, materials, wall collapses, etc.

– Stabs, cuts, amputations

– Striking against or struck by objects (bone fracture, bruises)

– Stepping on objects

– Being caught in or between objects, including crushing and tearing accidents

– Pressure vessels, vacuum vessels (bursting, mechanical explosions or implosions)

– Burns and scalds (by hot or cold fluids or surfaces)

– Penetration of foreign particles into eyes

– Swallowing of bulky or sharp-edged non-poisonous solids

– Drowning

– Acute injuries caused by animals (e.g., bites, scratches, kicks, squeezing and trampling, stings, rammings, etc.)

– Overexertion or overstrenuous movements

Chemical accidents

– All acute injuries and effects related to accidental release, spillage, inhalation, swallowing of, or contact with, chemical agents (except fire or explosions)

Electrical accidents

– All injuries and effects related to electric current and static electricity

Fires and chemical explosions Radiation accidents

– Injuries involving accidental exposure to high doses of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, including laser beams and strong light, UV, etc.

Physical hazards

– Ionizing radiation (including, e.g., x rays, alpha-, beta- and gamma radiation, neutron and particle beams, radon, etc.)

– Non-ionizing radiation (including the whole spectrum of electromagnetic non-ionizing radiation, e.g., visible light, UV and IR, laser beams, RF, MW, etc.); electric and magnetic fields

– Vibration (affecting whole body; vibration-related hazards affecting specific organs appear under “Ergonomic and social factors”)

– Noise (including also ultra- and infrasound)

– Exposure to weather, extreme heat or cold, reduced or increased barometric pressure (including heat stroke, sun stroke, heat stress, cold stress, frostbite, etc.)

Chemical hazards*

* Hazards related to non-accidental exposure to chemicals

Direct/immediate effects:

– Irritation of mucous membranes, eyes and respiratory system

– Effects on the nervous system (headaches, reduced alertness, intoxication, etc.)

– Gastrointestinal disturbances

– Skin effects (itching, erythema, blistering, etc.)

– Effects of “routine” exposure on ultrasensitive persons; effect of combination of “routine” factors, e.g., non-accidental formation of phosgene when smoking in presence of organochlorine compounds

– Asphyxia

Delayed, chronic or long-term effects:

– Chronic systemic poisoning

– Other systemic effects (e.g., hematopoietic, on the gastro-intestinal, urogenital nervous systems, etc.)

– Skin effects (dermatoses, skin sensitization and allergies, etc.)

– Eye effects (cataracts, impaired vision, corrosive damage, etc.)

– Inhalation effects (lung oedema, chemical pneumonitis, pneumoconiosis, asthmatic reactions, etc.)

– Ingestion effects (sore throat, abdominal pain and/or cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, reduced consciousness, coma, etc.)

– Chemical allergies not included above

– Effects on reproductive system, pregnancy (spontaneous abortion, embryo- and foetotoxicity), birth defects

– Carcinogenesis and mutagenesis

Biological hazards

– Microorganisms and their toxic products

– Poisonous and allergenic plants

– Exposure to animals which can lead to diseases and allergies (from hair, furs, etc.)

Ergonomic and social factors

Hazards related to working postures, man-machine interactions, lifting, mental or physical stress, nuisance and discomfort (e.g., sick building syndrome, poor illumination, air pollution from sources not related to workplace, human relations, violence, biorhythms, bad smells, vibration affecting specific body organ, e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.)



– Special alerts

– Statistical data (e.g., “increased risk of ...”; “excess mortality...”, etc.)

– Synergistic effects

– Special circumstances or combinations of factors

– Any important relevant information not included elsewhere



List of chemicals, etc.

The use of such a standard and well-itemized template provides a uniform datasheet structure, assuring quick familiarization and easy orientation by a user. Another important consideration is the use of standard phrases and expressions across the whole range of occupations, the advantage being an instant recognition of similar hazards present in different occupations. 

The checklist (template), together with a set of standard phrases and key-words, will serve in the future as a basis for developing a Guide for Compilers of Hazard Datasheets, with a purpose similar to that of the Compiler’s Guide for the Preparation of International Chemical Safety Cards (a joint project of the CEC, the ILO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)).

The datasheet structure contains the following sections, according to the template:

·     Name of occupation: the title taken either from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) or from the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO)

·     Synonyms: taken from DOT and/or other sources, typically an English-language thesaurus

·     Definition and/or description: mostly quoted or adapted from DOT or ISCO. Some definitions quoted from DOT contain abbreviated designations of different industries, according to the “Industry Index” (DOT, Vol. 2). “Professional and kindred occupations” (“Occupations requiring extensive study or experience in professions, technical services, sciences, art, and related types of work”) are designated “Profess. & kin.”; occupations that are “not elsewhere classified” are designated “n.e.c.”; most of the other abbreviations are self-explanatory.

·     Related and specific occupations: compiled on the basis of DOT, ISCO, discussions with experts and personal knowledge

·     Tasks: compiled from various sources, including the Revised Handbook for Analyzing Jobs (RHAJ), DOT, ISCO, suggestions by experts, etc., and arranged alphabetically

·     Primary equipment used and Industries where this occupation is common: The lists of tools, machines and industries were compiled on the basis of discussions with field workers and experts, as well as information found in various technical job descriptions; personal expert knowledge was also extensively used.

·     Hazards: The lists of hazards of various types were compiled following thorough examination of numerous information resources, including: previous lists of occupational hazards compiled by various researchers; job descriptions of DOT and ISCO; technical documents issued by national OSH organizations, such as INRS (France), HSE (United Kingdom), NIOSH (US), IIOSH (Israel), etc.; professional literature, including the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety; computerized databases (e.g., CISDOC, NIOSHTIC, HSELINE and TOXLINE); interviews with field workers and OSH professionals, as well as personal knowledge and expert evaluation.

·     Notes: any additional important and relevant information not included elsewhere, such as information on synergistic effects and warnings about some high-risk situations

·     Appendices: auxiliary and supplementary data, such as lists of substances used in a given occupation, etc.

Following its compilation, each hazard datasheet was subjected to peer reviewing and comments by at least two competent specialists.

AMBULANCE DRIVER (Medical services)

Synonyms: Ambulance driver (government services); Red Cross (or similar organization) ambulance driver

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Drives ambulance to transport sick, injured or convalescent persons. Places patients on stretcher and loads stretcher into ambulance, usually with help of ambulance attendant (medical services). Takes sick or injured persons to hospital, or convalescent to destination, using knowledge and skill to avoid sudden motions detrimental to patients. Changes soiled linen on stretcher. Administers first aid as needed. May shackle violent patients. May report facts concerning accident or emergency to hospital personnel or law enforcement officials (DOT). Also: a person who drives a medical emergency vehicle, ambulance or hospital services (civil or military) vehicle; may assist in delivering babies inside the ambulance.

Related and specific occupations

Ambulance attendant; ambulance-team/nursing aid; funeral car/hearse driver/ chauffeur; hospital/clinic driver; medical services driver; military ambulance driver; motor-vehicle driver (medical services); police ambulance driver; private ambulance driver.


Administering (medicines, oxygen, etc.); assisting; carrying; changing; cleaning; communicating; driving; documenting; handling; honking; lifting; loading; locating; logging; maintaining; mending; operating; placing; pulling and pushing; repairing; reporting; restraining; reviving; servicing; shackling; stretching; transporting; warning; writing.


Accident hazards

– Increased risk of road accidents due to high driving speeds under emergency conditions (including crossing intersections during red traffic light, driving on sidewalks and steep slopes while trying to reach destination through traffic jams);

– Slips, trips and falls (on stairs or on the level) while carrying stretchers and loads or assisting patients;

– Injuries as a result of carrying out various functions (field repair tasks, tyre changes, etc.) of a vehicle driver (see truck driver, chauffeur, etc.);

– Sudden release of compressed gases (e.g., oxygen or anaesthetic gases) inside the ambulance.

Physical hazards

– Exposure to high noise levels from the emergency horn;

– Exposure to radioactive isotopes (in some countries where ambulance are used for the transport of radioisotopes to hospitals).

Chemical hazards

– Exposure to anaesthetic gases administered to patients inside the ambulance;

– Dermatitis caused by excessive use of rinsing, cleaning and disinfecting agents.

Biological hazards

– Exposure to contagious diseases from patients;

– Potential exposure to body fluids of patients (e.g., blood from wounds).

Ergonomic and social factors

– Back pains and other musculoskeletal problems resulting from overexertion and wrong postures during lifting and otherwise moving of patients, driving over bumpy roads, repairing vehicles on road, etc.;

– Psychological stress due to dangerous driving under time pressure, contact with accident victims, terminal patients and dead bodies, unusual working schedules, prolonged states of alertness, etc.



International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS). 1995. International Safety Datasheets on Occupations. Steering Committee meeting, 9-10 March. Geneva: ILO.


Synonyms: Animal attendant; animal breeder; animal caretaker; animal husbandry worker; animal keeper; animal laboratory worker; animal propagator; animal raiser; farmworker, animal; farmworker, livestock; etc.

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Performs any combination of following duties to attend animals, such as mice, canaries, guinea pigs, mink, dogs and monkeys, on farms and in facilities, such as kennels, pounds, hospitals and laboratories. Feeds and waters animals according to schedules. Cleans and disinfects cages, pens and yards and sterilizes laboratory equipment and surgical instruments. Examines animals for signs of illness and treats them according to instructions. Transfers animals between quarters. Adjusts controls to regulate temperature and humidity of animals’ quarters. Records information according to instructions, such as genealogy, diet, weight, medications, food intake and licence number. Anaesthetizes, inoculates, shaves, bathes, clips and grooms animals. Repairs cages, pens or fenced yards. May kill and skin animals, such as fox and rabbit, and pack pelts in crates. May be designated according to place worked such as Dog-Pound Attendant (government ser.); Farmworker, Fur (agriculture); Helper, Animal Laboratory (pharmaceut.); Kennel Attendant (agriculture); Pet Shop Attendant (retail trade); Veterinary-hospital Attendant (medical ser.) (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Abattoir worker; butcher; farmer/cattle; farmworker, skilled/cattle (also: farmworker, skilled/dairy; –/domestic fur-bearing animals; –/fish; –/mixed animal husbandry; –/non-domesticated fur-bearing animals; –/pigs; –/poultry; –/sheep); veterinarian, etc. (ISCO)); animal herder; animal shelter supervisor; apiarist; artificial inseminator; beekeeper; cattleman; cowboy; fur farmer; herder; lamber; livestock farmer; livestock rancher; livestock yard attendant; milker; pelter; poultry farmer/ breeder; shepherd; stable attendant; stock raiser; supervisor, kennel; etc. (DOT and ISCO); animal propagation worker (RHAJ); animal hairdresser; gaucho; groom; stableman; zoo attendant/worker; etc.


Adjusting (controls); administering; anaesthetizing; applying (medications); apportioning; assisting (veterinarian); attaching; attending; bagging; bailing; bathing; bedding; binding; branding; breaking (horse); breeding; bridling; brushing; building (fences, sheds, etc.); bundling; butchering; buying and selling; caging; calculating; candling; caponizing; caring; carrying; castrating; catching; changing; clamping; cleaning; clipping; collecting (fees, donations, etc.); combing; conditioning; confining; constructing; corraling; crating; cultivating; culturing; curing (meat); debeaking; dehorning; delivering; demonstrating (animals to customers, viewers, etc.); dipping (utensils); disinfecting; distributing; docking; domesticating (animals); drenching; dressing; driving; documenting; enclosing; engaging; erecting; examining (animals); exercising; exhibiting (for commercial, educational or entertainment purposes); exterminating; farming; fattening; feeding; filling; flushing; foddering; folding; formulating; fumigating; gathering; goading; grazing; greasing; grinding; grooming; growing; guarding; guiding; handling; harnessing; harvesting; hatching; hauling; helping; herding; hiring; hitching (animals); identifying; incubating; informing; injecting; inoculating; inseminating; inspecting; investigating; isolating; keeping; killing; labelling; lashing; littering; loading and unloading; lubricating; maintaining; managing; marking; marketing; measuring; medicating; milking; milting; mixing; mounting and dismounting; moving; netting; notching; notifying; nurturing; observing; oiling; opening; operating; ordering; pacifying; packing; painting; performing; placing; planting; pouring; preparing; preserving; pricking; producing; propagating (animals); pumping; punching (cattle); purchasing; quarantining; racking; raising; ranching; rearing; recording; regulating; removing; renting; repairing; replenishing; reporting; restraining; riding; rounding up; saddling; scattering; scraping; segregating; selecting; separating; sexing (poultry); sharpening; shaving; shipping; shearing; shoeing; shovelling; showing (animals to customers, viewers, etc.); skinning; slaughtering; snipping; sorting; sowing; spawning; spraying; spurring; sterilizing; stocking; storing; stripping; supervising; tagging; taming; tattooing; tendering; tending; training (police and army dogs for drugs and explosives sniffing); transferring; transporting; treating; trimming; tying; using; vaccinating; walking (dogs); washing; watering; weighing; whipping; wrangling; yoking.


Accident hazards

– Slips, trips and falls (on slippery surfaces, stairs, etc.); colliding with scattered objects, etc.;

– Cuts and pricks caused by sharp objects, broken glass and syringes;

– Injuries caused by swinging doors;

– Bites, goring and/or being attacked by domestic or wild animals;

– Kicks, bites, scratches and stings caused by laboratory animals (primates, dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters and other rodents, snakes, wasps, etc.), domestic animals, fur animals, honeybees, zoo animals and other animals kept for their educational, commercial, entertainment, game, sports or other value, or for research purposes;

– Falls from horses and other riding animals;

– Road accidents while transporting animals;

– Accidental injury caused by firearms while hunting animals (for zoos, etc.);

– Fire hazard at animal-waste rendering plants;

– Fires and explosions caused by inflammables and explosives;

– Eye injury caused by metallic splinters (e.g., in farriers while horseshoeing, or while branding);

– Burns from hot metal objects (e.g., in farriers while horseshoeing);

– Electric shocks caused by defective or incorrectly operated electric and electromechanical equipment;

– Explosions of animal-food dust-air mixtures.

Physical hazards

– Exposure to ionizing radiation emitted by veterinary x-ray equipment and by laboratory animals investigated or treated with radioisotopes;

– Exposure of skin and eyes to ultraviolet radiation used for sterilization and other purposes in laboratories and animal quarters;

– Exposure to excessive noise, heat stress and hand-arm mechanical shocks and vibrations during forging and related operations (in farriers);

– Cold or heat stress (resulting in effects ranging from temperature discomfort to frostbite or heat stroke, respectively) and exposure to frequent abrupt temperature changes (when entering or leaving climate-controlled rooms) in animal handlers working mostly or partly outdoors under severe climatic conditions;

– Health problems (e.g., rheumatic, etc.) due to conditions in animal quarters such as high humidity, concrete floors, etc.

Chemical hazards

– Intoxication due to contact with chemicals, such as pesticides (especially insecticides, germicides and herbicides), solvents, strong acids and alkalis, detergents, etc.;

– Dermatoses due to contact with chemicals, such as pesticides, solvents, detergents, deodorants, animal medications, etc.;

– Allergies due to contact with formaldehyde and other synthetic or natural allergenic substances;

– Health hazards caused by inhaling formaldehyde vapours;

– Health hazards caused by exposure to metallic, solvent and other fumes during forging, shoeing and other hoof-care operations (especially in farriers);

– Systemic and gastrointestinal effects caused by exposure to cytotoxic agents (especially in laboratory animal handlers);

– Exposure to various carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic agents (especially in laboratory animal handlers);

– Mercury poisoning (in fur-processing workers).

Biological hazards

– Infection due to contact with sick or pathogen- carrying animals or due to exposure to airborne pathogens, resulting in development of communicable diseases (zoonoses), including: anthrax, blastomycosis, brucellosis (undulant fever), B-virus (simian B disease), cat-scratch fever, echinococcosis (hydatidosis), encephalitis, enteritis (zoonotically acquired), erysipeloid, glanders, hookworm diseases, leptospirosis, Orf virus disease, ornithosis, pasteurellosis, plague, pseudocowpox, psittacosis, pyogenic infections, Q-fever, rabies, rat-bite fever, rift-valley fever, ringworm diseases, salmonellosis, swineherd’s disease, tapeworm diseases, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis (bovine), tularaemia, typhus fever, etc., as well as other diseases related to protozoan parasites, rickettsia and chlamydia, viral and fungal infections, etc.;

– Laboratory-animal allergies (LAA) (including: occupational asthma, allergic alveolitis, bronchitis, pneumonitis, rhinitis, skin rashes, etc.) and diseases of the airways caused by inhalation of animal-food dust containing various micro-organisms and their spores, animal hair (causing furrier’s lung), bird-droppings residues (causing pigeon- breeder’s lung), etc.;

– Pulmonary dysfunctions in animal confinement workers caused by various agents, including hydrogen sulphide toxicity, bronchitis, non-allergic asthma, organic-dust toxic syndrome (ODTS), mucous membrane irritation, and by bioaerosols and endotoxins;

– Dust- and endotoxin-related respiratory effects in animal-feed workers and in fur-farm workers;

– Exposure to carcinogenic afflatoxins (causing primary liver cancer) of animal-feed workers;

– Cancer hazards due to carcinogens present in pesticides, animal medicines, etc.;

– Acute health effects caused by various flea-control products used by animal handlers;

– Increased risk of laboratory-acquired haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) caused by infected laboratory rats;

– Occupational eczemas and contact dermatitis;

– Increased risk of developing chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in animal breeders;

– Various septic infections;

– Development of the mad-cow syndrome (viral) disease.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Musculoskeletal problems (particularly of back and knees) in animal handlers engaged in lengthy horse-riding and/or leaning on their knees (especially on concrete floors) during work (e.g., in farriers);

– Job dissatisfaction related to the working environment (dirt, smells, etc.) and to the mainly physical character of work;

– Exposure to attacks by cattle robbers, valuable-pet thieves, etc.;

– Exposure to protest, and possibly violence, by animals’ rights groups;

– Danger of developing drugs addiction facilitated by easy availability of animal medications.



Benenson, AS (ed.). 1990. Control of Communicable Diseases in Man, 15th edition. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

Worksafe Australia. 1995. Agriculture and Services to Agriculture Industries. Occupational Health and Safety Performance Overviews. Selected Industries, Issue No. 9. Canberra: Government of Australia.

World Health Organization (WHO). 1979. Parasitic Zoonoses. Report of a WHO Expert Committee with the Participation of FAO. Technical Report Series No. 637. Geneva: WHO.


Synonyms: Automotive machinist; garage mechanic; motor-vehicle mechanic

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Repairs, services and overhauls automobiles and assimilated motor vehicles; examines vehicle to ascertain nature, extent and location of defects; plans work, using charts and technical manuals; dismantles engine, transmission, differential or other parts requiring attention; repairs or replaces parts such as pistons, rods, gears, valves, bearings, breaker points or gaskets and accessories such as spark plugs; relines and adjusts brakes, solders leaks in radiator, rebushes steering mechanism and carries out other repairs; tunes motor by adjusting ignition, carburettor, valves and timing mechanism; tests repaired vehicles in workshop or on road. May rebuild parts using lathes, shapers, welding equipment and hand tools. May do electrical and body repairs and spray painting. May specialize in repairing a particular type of engine, such as diesel automobile engines, and be designated accordingly (ISCO).

Related and specific occupations

Similar occupations designated according to a speciality: bus mechanic; diesel- engine mechanic; motor- truck mechanic; engine-repair mechanic; motor or bus repairer; differential repairer; compressor mechanic; engine-head repairer, etc., or according to a title: garage supervisor; bus inspection mechanic; transmission mechanic; brake repairer; diesel-mechanic helper, etc. (DOT).


Abrading; adjusting; aligning; assembling and disassembling; bolting; bonding; boring; brazing; brushing; burning; calibrating; cementing; chipping; clamping; cleaning; cutting; diagnosing; dipping; disassembling; dis- mantling; drilling; driving; examining; fabricating; fastening; filing; filling; finishing; fitting; flame-cutting; forging; grinding; gluing; hammering; heating; insert- ing; inspecting; installing; laminating; lifting; lubricating; machining; maintaining; measuring (with instruments); melting; mending; milling; overhauling; painting; piercing; planning; positioning; pressing; pulling; pumping; pushing; raising; reboring; rebushing; recharging; reconditioning; relining; removing; repairing; replacing; riveting; rewiring; rubbing (compounds); sanding; scraping; servicing; setting; soldering; spraying; squeezing; stapling; tapping; testing; threading; tightening; tuning; verifying (dimensions); welding.


Accident hazards

– Injuries during work with mechanized equipment, such as lathes, drills, boring and honing machines, discs, shapers and various cutting and hand tools (e.g. cutters, wrenches, screwdrivers, chisels, sledgehammers, etc.);

– Injuries resulting from collapse, setting or slipping of jacking, lifting or hoisting equipment and falling vehicles;

– Stabs and cuts caused by knives, sharp objects, hand tools, banging on metal pieces, loose bolts, etc. during dismantling, repair and assembly operations;

– Slips, trips and falls from ladders, stairs, elevated platforms, etc. and falls into inspection pits (especially when carrying loads);

– Falls on level surfaces, especially on wet, slippery or greasy floors;

– Crushing of toes as a result of heavy objects falling on feet;

– Burns and scorches as a result of contact with hot surfaces, exhaust pipes or hot-melt chemicals; sudden release of hot water and steam from steam lines, radiator and cooling system pipes; soldering, brazing and welding operations, etc.;

– Eye injury from splinters and flying objects during grinding, machining, abrading, polishing, boring and similar operations or while operating compressed-air equipment for drum and brake cleaning and similar operations;

– Bursting of compressed-air lines or containers; accidental injection of material/compressed air either through the skin or body orifices;

– Bursting of tyres;

– Accidents due to poorly installed and inappropriately maintained steam and water pressure cleaners;

– Injuries caused by rolling-road/brakes testing equipment;

– Electrocution as a result of defects, short circuits or incorrect use of electromechanical equipment, or contact with live wires (e.g., electric shocks from portable power tools);

– Fires and explosions of flammable and explosive substances (e.g., liquid petroleum gas, gasoline, solvents, oils etc.), accumulating as a result of spills, leaks, neglect, etc., or by ignition of hydrogen released from batteries, or by flames originating from flame cutting and welding operations, etc;

– Carbon monoxide poisoning of inspection-pit workers;

– Road accidents during testing and driving of repaired vehicles.

Physical hazards

– Excessive noise (greater than 90 dBA), especially in car body work;

– Exposure to direct and reflected ultraviolet and infrared radiation;

– Exposure to microwave and radiofrequency radiation, especially in such activities as heat-sealing of panels and upholstery, drying of trim base panels etc.;

– Exposure to low temperatures and winds, especially in open-shed garages, resulting in colds (the use of improvised heating may also cause fire and carbon monoxide poisoning);

– Exposure to x rays and radioisotopes in automobile manufacturing/non-destructive testing;

– Development of vibration white finger (VWF) as a result of vibrating power-driven tools.

Chemical hazards

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to a wide range of industrial chemicals, including heavy metals (e.g., brake fluids, degreasers, detergents, lubricants, metal cleaners, paint removers, thinners etc.) (see Appendix);

– Skin diseases and conditions (various types of dermatitis, skin sensitization, eczema, oil acne, etc.) caused by various chemicals (e.g., adhesives, asbestos, antifreeze and brake fluids, epoxy resins, gasoline, oils, nickel, colophony, etc.);

– Eye irritation, dizziness, nausea, breathing problems, headaches, etc., caused by contact with chemical irritants, dusts, fumes, antiknock agents (such as methylpentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT)), ketone solvents (such as methyl isobutyl ketone (MIK)), etc.;

– Asbestosis and mesothelioma caused by asbestos dust from brake-drum cleaning and processing operation;

– Lead poisoning;

– Haematological changes as a result of exposure to solvents, such as benzene and its homologues, toluene, xylene, etc.;

– Increased risk of cancer due to inhalation of diesel exhaust fumes or contact with certain heavy metals and their compounds, asbestos, benzene, etc.;

– Increased risk of organic brain damage due to inhalation of diesel exhaust fumes;

– Acute eye and mucous membrane irritation, headaches, breathing difficulties, chest tightness, etc., caused by inhalation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and respirable particulates;

– Increased risk of abortion or damage to fœtus or embryo in pregnant women exposed to organo-halogen solvents;

– Gastrointestinal disturbances as a result of accidental or chronic ingestion of adhesives;

– Nuisance due to bad smells when working with certain solvent-based adhesives;

– Splashes of corrosive and reactive chemicals that may cause eye and skin injuries, etc.

Biological hazards

Infections as a result of micro-organism contamination and growth in certain adhesives.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Acute musculoskeletal injuries (intervertebral disk rupture, tendon rupture, hernia, etc.) caused by physical overexertion and incorrect combination of weight and posture during lifting and moving of heavy loads;

– Cumulative trauma disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by long-time repetitive work;

– Tiredness and general ill feeling;

– Danger of being attacked by individuals (including dissatisfied customers) in work places open to the public;

– Psychological stress when working under time pressure.



Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 1991. Health and Safety in Tyre and Exhaust Fitting Premises. HS (G) 62. London: HSE Books.

—. 1991. Health and Safety in Motor Vehicle Repair. HS (G) 67. London: HSE Books.


Principal substances to which automobile mechanics may be exposed:

– Abrasive dusts

– Acrolein

– Adhesives

– Alkalis

– Antifreeze fluids

– Asbestos

– Benzene

– Bisphenol A

– Brake fluids

– Butanol

– Butyl acetate

– Carbon monoxide

– Chlorinated hydrocarbons (e.g., solvents)

– Colophony (rosin)

– Cutting fluids

– Degreasers

– Diacetone alcohol

– Dichromates

– Dioxane

– Detergents (synthetic)

– Epoxy resins

– Ethyl acetate

– Ethylene glycol

– Flame retardants

– Gasoline and additives

– Glass fibres

– Graphite

– Greases

– Hydraulic fluids

– Hydroquinone

– Isocyanates

– Isopropanol

– Kerosene

– Lead and its compounds

– Lubricants

– Metal cleaners

– Methanol

– Methyl isobutyl ketone

– Molybdenum disulphide

– Nickel

– Nitrogen oxides

– Oils (including used oils)

– Oxalic acid

– Paint removers

– Paint thinners (e.g., turpentine)

– Phthalic anhydride

– Plastics

– Polyester resins

– Rubber antioxidants and accelerators

– Soldering fluxes

– Solvents (different types)

– Tetraethyl lead

– Thimerosol

– Tricarbonyl

– Toluene

– White spirit

– Xylene


Synonyms: Boiler attendant; boiler-room worker; boiler water treater; firer; steam-boiler operator; steam generator operator; steam power plant operator; steam-supply operator

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Operates fuel-fired boilers to generate steam for supply to industrial processes, buildings, etc. Lights gas, oil or solid-fuel fed boilers using torch; regulates flow of fuel and water into the boiler. Observes control panel and regulates temperature, pressure, draft and other operation parameters. Observes boiler and auxiliary units to detect malfunctions and make repairs. Changes burners, pipes and fittings. Tests and treats boiler feed water, using special chemicals, ion-exchange columns, etc. Activates pumps or pressure flow to remove fly ash from hoppers, contaminated water from boiler system, and flush slurry into ash grinder. Assists boiler maintenance crews in maintenance and repair work.


Activating (pumps); adjusting; assembling and disassembling; charging; checking; cleaning (valves, fuel tanks); detecting (malfunctions); filling; firing; fixing; flushing (slurry); installing; lighting; loading and unloading (fuel); maintaining (insulation, etc.); measuring; monitoring, operating; regenerating (ion exchanger resins); regulating (flow, temperature); removing (ash, wastes); repairing; sealing (leaks); screwing; stoking; testing (feed water); treating (feed water); wrenching.

Industries in which this occupation is common

Manufacturing plants and services which require steam for operation, e.g., chemical industry; plastics industry; electrical power plants; steam laundries; hospitals; food industries; shipping; desalination plants; etc.


Accident hazards

– Slips and falls on level surfaces, particularly on floors made slippery by water, fuel, oils, etc.;

– Mechanical accidents when operating pulverizer and stoker in coal-fired boilers;

– Bursting of boilers (because of overheating and overpressure, failure of structural components due to metal fatigue, etc.) with possible fires; injury by the explosion wave, by flying fragments, flames, steam, etc.;

– Fires and explosions of fuel (particularly from fuel leaks); rags soaked with fuel; explosions of gas-air mixtures within the boiler;

– Soot fires;

– Burns from hot surfaces, hot water and escaping steam;

– Electrocution or electric shocks;

– Asphyxia due to breathing oxygen- depleted air;

– Poisoning by carbon monoxide or by other combustion products in the air, particularly in the case of faulty ventilation or inadequate air supply to the burners (acute carbon monoxide poisoning may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, unconsciousness, coma and death);

– Splashes of hydrazine and its derivatives on the skin may cause penetrating burns and severe dermatitis;

– Splashes into the eyes of chemicals used in the regeneration of ion exchange columns, in derusting and descaling; particularly, splashes of hydrazine and its derivatives may cause permanent corneal lesions.

Physical hazards

Excessive noise levels (as high as 94 dBA).

Chemical hazards

– Pneumoconioses from exposure to vanadium-containing dust and to asbestos from the insulation, particularly during maintenance and repair work, and from exposure to respirable fly ash;

– Dermatoses from exposure to fuels and to corrosion inhibitors (various organic or metallo-organic compounds) and other water additives;

– Irritation of eyes, respiratory tract and skin as a result of exposure to hydrazine and its derivatives, used as additives to boiler water; severe exposure may cause temporary blindness;

– Irritation of the upper respiratory tract and coughing, as a result of inhalation of sulfur dioxide, particularly when burning high-sulfur fuels;

– Exposure to water-treating chemicals and formulations, particularly corrosion inhibitors and oxygen scavengers such as hydrazine; ion-exchange-resin regeneration chemicals, including acids and bases; cleaning, derusting and descaling products and solvents; carbon monoxide; carbon dioxide; nitrogen oxides; sulfur dioxide; dusts containing refractory oxides and vanadium oxide.

Biological hazards

Development of fungi and growth of bacteriae in the boiler room due to the elevated temperature and humidity.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Heat stress;

– General tiredness as a result of physical work in a noisy, warm and humid environment.



1. According to published reports, boiler attendants may be at increased risk of breast or nasopharyngeal cancer; exposure of boiler operators to hydrazine and its derivatives may cause damage to the lung, liver and kidneys.

2. Special hazards are encountered when wastes are used as the fuel; the boiler operator may be exposed to a wide variety of hazardous chemicals present in the waste or formed during its burning (e.g., furans, dioxide derivatives, metal fumes, mineral fibres, etc.). Also, the operator may be exposed to bites or stings from parasites, insects and even small animals (e.g., snakes, scorpions) present in the wastes and to bacterial infections.

3. As boiler rooms are frequently located in basements, a radon exposure hazard may exist in some regions.


American National Standards Institute (ANSI). 1987. Gas-fired Low-pressure Steam and Hot Water Boilers. ANSI Standard Z21.13-87. New York: ANSI.

Parsons, RA (ed.). 1988. Boilers. In ASHRAE Handbook: Equipment. Atlanta, GA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers.


Synonyms: Private chauffeur; chauffeur, private motor-car; also used as an alternate title to “bus driver” (DOT); also: limousine driver; managerial driver; pool-car driver

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Drives automobile to transport office personnel and visitors to commercial or industrial establishments. Performs miscellaneous errands, such as carrying mail to and from post office. May make overnight drives and extended trips requiring irregular hours. May be required to have a chauffeur’s licence. May clean vehicles and make minor repairs or adjustments (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Bus driver; taxi (cab) driver; truck driver; lorry and van driver; etc.


Adjusting; arranging; assisting; carrying; changing; checking; cleaning; collecting; communicating; commuting; directing; driving; documenting; handling; inspecting; lifting; loading and unloading; locating; maintaining; mending; operating; organizing; performing; placing; pulling and pushing; regulating; repairing; reporting; servicing; transporting.


Accident hazards

– Increased risk of road accidents as a result of overnight drives and extended trips during irregular hours;

– Slips, trips and falls while carrying luggage and packages;

– Injuries as a result of accomplishing various functions (e.g., field repair work, tyre change, etc.) of a vehicle driver (see also truck driver; bus driver, etc.).

Physical hazards

May be exposed to physical hazards when working under some specific conditions (e.g., to radiation when transporting mail containing radioisotopes, etc.).

Chemical hazards

May develop mild dermatitis due to use of cleansers and detergents.

Biological hazards

Potential exposure to infectious diseases when transporting sick passengers.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Low back pain and pains in the joints (of legs and hands/arms) due to extended driving, sometimes over bumpy roads;

– Psychological stress and job dissatisfaction as a result of performing a subordinate role and of a need to cater for various, sometimes unexpected, demands of passengers;

– In case of fulfilling an additional duty of a bodyguard, various hazards typical for this function;

– Visual discomfort and eye problems caused by inadequate illumination and eyestrain (especially when driving at dark time on interurban roads).


Synonyms: Appliance-service representative; small-appliance repairer

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Repairs electrical appliances, such as toasters, cookers, percolators, lamps and irons, using hand-tools and electrical testing instruments. Examines appliances for mechanical defects and disassembles appliances. Tests wiring for broken or short circuits, using voltmeters, ohmmeters and other circuit testers. Replaces defective wiring and parts, such as toaster elements and percolator coils, using hand-tools, soldering irons and spot-welding equipment. May compute charges for labour and materials. May assist Electrical-appliance Servicer (any industry) in repairing such appliances as refrigerators and stoves (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Appliance repairer (and occupations according to specific appliances, e.g., food-mixer repairer; heating-element repairer; toaster-element repairer; vacuum-cleaner repairer; etc.); assembler (household appliances); electrical-appliance preparer (and occupations according to specific appliances, e.g., coffee-maker preparer; electric-refrigerator preparer; washing-machine preparer; etc.); electrical-appliance servicer (and occupations according to specific appliances); fixer; household-appliance installer; maintenance man; mender; repairman; serviceman; troubleshooter; uncrater.


Adjusting; advising (customers); aligning; applying; assembling, disassembling and reassembling; assisting; bending; bolting; boring; brazing; calculating (costs, wiring parameters, etc.); calibrating; checking; cleaning; computing (charges, etc.); connecting; cutting; demonstrating (appliances in operation); determining (repair requirements); drilling; driving; earthing; estimating (costs); examining (appliances); fastening; filing; fitting; fixing; gluing; hammering; handling; identifying (defects); installing; inserting; insulating; joining; keeping (records); lifting; loading and unloading; locating (shorts and grounds, etc.); lubricating; maintaining (stock of parts); marking; measuring (dimensions, electric parameters); mending; mounting; moving (heavy appliances); observing (appliance in operation, instrument readings); operating (appliances, equipment); painting; placing; polishing; preparing; recording (details of repair); repairing; replacing; removing; screwing and unscrewing; sealing; selecting; servicing; setting; soldering; splicing (cables); stripping (wires); testing; touching up (paint defects); tracing (electrical circuits); transporting; troubleshooting; uncrating; using (tools, skills, etc.); washing; welding; wiring; wrapping (wires with tape).


Accident hazards

– Cuts and stabs caused by working tools, sharp edges of parts of appliances under repair, etc.;

– Slips, trips and falls on level surfaces, especially on wet, slippery and greasy floors, while moving heavy appliances;

– Falls from height while installing or repairing outdoor units of “split” air conditioners, ceiling fans, etc.;

– Mechanical injuries caused by exposed rotating parts of appliances under repair (e.g., ventilators);

– Acute poisoning and/or chemical burns as a result of using solvents, adhesives and other chemicals;

– Fire risk due to use of inflammables;

– Burns caused by contact with hot elements of appliances under repair (e.g., irons), molten metals (while soldering) or as a result of sudden release of vapours from appliances under repair (e.g., from coffee-makers);

– Electric shocks caused by contact with live wires;

– Risk of road accidents while driving to/from customer premises.

Physical hazards

– Exposure to microwave radiation while repairing microwave ovens;

– Increased exposure to radiation.

Chemical hazards

– Chronic toxicological effects associated with welding and soldering operations;

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to fluorocarbons, methyl chloride and other substances used in refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.

Biological hazards

Biological hazards may be encountered while repairing appliances that were used by sick persons (e.g., hair dryers, electrical tooth brushes, electrical shavers, etc.), or were operated in a contaminated atmosphere (e.g., vacuum cleaners).

Ergonomic and social factors

– Acute musculoskeletal injuries caused by physical overexertion and awkward posture while moving and installing heavy appliances;

– Cumulative trauma disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by long-time repetitive work involving primarily hand, arm and finger movements (in appliance repairers engaged in repair work on assembly lines or in repetitive workbench operations);

– Tiredness and general ill feeling;

– Visual discomfort and eye strain as a result of viewing small parts of appliances under poor illumination conditions (e.g., inside an appliance);

– Psychological stress as a result of working under time pressure and dealing with dissatisfied customers.



1. Conflicting opinions exist as to whether very-low and extremely-low frequency electromagnetic radiation is hazardous.


Synonyms: Garden caretaker; greenskeeper; groundskeeper; horticulturist; landscape specialist; park worker

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Makes, or works in, a garden. Maintains grounds of public, private, industrial or commercial property, performing any combination of the following tasks: conditions soil by digging, turning, ploughing, fertilizing, etc; plants grass, flowers, shrubs and trees; waters lawn, flowers and shrubs; cuts lawns; trims and edges around walks, flower beds and walls; prunes shrubs and trees; sprays lawn, shrubs and trees with insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers; cleans and disinfects or sterilizes gardening tools and equipment; formulates and prepares pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer, soil additive or other solutions or mixtures; removes damaged leaves, branches or twigs; rakes and bags leaves; cleans grounds and removes litter; carts away or burns litter, leaves, paper, etc; shovels snow from walks and driveways; may sharpen gardening tools; may make minor repairs of equipment; may repair and/or paint fences, walls, gates and walks; may clean drainage ditches and culverts; may measure moisture level in soil.


Bagging (leaves); bailing; budding; burning; carting; cleaning; clipping; conditioning (soil); cropping; culling; cutting; detasselling; digging; disinfecting; draining; drying; dusting; edging; fertilizing; formulating; fumigating; gathering; grading (terrain); grafting; harrowing; harvesting; hoeing; husking; irrigating; maintaining; making; measuring (moisture, etc.); mending; mowing; mulching; painting; performing (tasks); picking; planting; plowing; potting; preparing (mixtures, etc.); propagating; pruning; raking; reaping; repairing; removing; sawing; sharpening; shearing; shelling; shovelling; sorting; sowing; spading; spiking; spraying; spreading; sterilizing; stringing; thinning; threshing; tilling; transplanting; trimming; turning (soil); watering; weeding; winnowing.

Primary equipment used

Lawn mower (manual or power-operated); clippers; weed cutters; edging tools; shears; ploughs; pruners; saws; spades; sprayers; sprinklers; spreaders; rakes; brooms; spiked sticks; shovels; trowels; knives; cultivators; hoses and watering cans; forks and aerator forks; thatchers; carts; tractors with various appendages; water sensor gauges.


Accident hazards

– Falls from heights (e.g., ladders, platforms or roofs), slips and falls on level ground (on mud or on wet soil or grass) or trips and falls on uneven soils or over various gardening implements, causing bruises, concussion, cuts or bone breakage;

– Overturning with, or falls from, tractors and other field vehicles or towed platforms;

– Clothing, hair or beard entanglement between moving parts of electrical or engine-driven machinery;

– Accidents with gardening tools (cutters, clippers, shears, rakes, hoes, etc.) as a result of tool slippage, inattention, breakage, stepping or falling on tools, etc., causing stabs, scratches, pinches, contusions, wounds, amputation of fingers, etc.;

– Ejection of flying particles (sand, stones, wood pieces, rubber or nylon cord, etc.) during work with power-driven mowers, saws, etc., causing injury to the eyes, contusions, etc.;

– Stabs from thorny plants;

– Snake, scorpion, bee, wasp, rodent, insect and dog bites or stings, causing wounds, pain, swelling, local or general poisoning, etc.;

– Electrocution or electric shock from contact with exposed live wires (e.g., overhead power lines when transporting metal piping) or during work with faultily insulated electrical equipment;

– Spillage of acids (e.g., nitric acid used for disinfecting tools) or other corrosive chemicals on the skin or clothing, or into eyes, causing chemical burns, rashes, severe eye injuries, etc.;

– Acute poisoning by accidental ingestion or inhalation of pesticides or other toxic agricultural chemicals.

Physical hazards

– Excessive noise levels from mechanized equipment (mowers, saws, etc.), causing damage to the eardrum with possible loss of hearing;

– Overexposure to sunlight causing sunburn, heatstroke, skin melanomas, etc.;

– Exposure to harsh weather (cold, rain, snow, wind) causing frostbite, colds (with possible complications if work is continued under such conditions), etc.

Chemical hazards

– Dermatitis and other skin ailments as a result of prolonged contact with agrochemicals or solvents or by systemic effects due to inhalation of chemicals;

– Chronic poisoning as a result of prolonged inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin of agricultural chemicals containing heavy metals, (e.g., cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic), organophosphorous compounds, amines, etc.;

– Increased damage to skin presensitized by chemical exposures through exposure to sunlight (cytophotochemical effects).

Biological hazards

– Contact with allergenic plants, flowers, weeds, etc. (e.g., Ficus benjamina, various cacti, etc.) causing dermatoses, asthma, etc.;

– Inhalation of allergenic dust, pollen, oils, vapours, etc., of plant origin, causing hay fever, asthma, etc.;

– Contact of open wounds with manure, parasites, bird and animal excretions, insects, etc, causing local or general infections including tetanus, anthrax, etc.;

– Zoonotic diseases (e.g., spotted fever, Q-fever);

– Leptospirosis as a result of penetration of leptospirae through broken skin;

– Fungal diseases, caused by fungi present in the soil or on plant leaves (e.g., allergic aspergillosis, histoplasmosis (a pulmonary infection), etc.);

– Parasitic diseases caused by tick, chigger and mite bites (e.g., straw itch) or by larvae penetrating through broken skin (e.g., hookworm disease, ascariasis). In some cases, the infections may develop into neurotoxic effects and paralysis.

Ergonomic and social factors

Repetitive hand motions, incorrect postures (e.g., when planting flowers), lifting and carrying of heavy loads, etc., may cause low back pain, upper and lower limb ailments and other musculoskeletal problems.



1. This occupation is commonly encountered in municipal services and on public, industrial, commercial or private grounds.

2. According to published reports, as a result of exposure to various agrochemicals, gardeners may be at increased risk of carcinogenic and mutagenic effects; pregnant female gardeners may be at increased risk of spontaneous abortions and fœtotoxic or teratogenic effects.

3. Chemicals to which a gardener may be exposed include a great variety of agricultural chemicals and formulations, including insecticides (organophosphorous, organochlorine, carba- mates, pyridyl, arsenicals, etc.), rodenticides, fungicides, liquid and gas fumigants (e.g., dibromoethane, methyl bromide), herbicides, fertilizers, etc.; fuels and lubricating oils; acids, cleaning and sterilizing compounds, solvents (particularly kerosene in pesticide formulations), etc.


International Labour Organization (ILO). 1979. Guide to Health and Hygiene in Agricultural  Work. Geneva: ILO.

Worksafe Australia. 1995. Agriculture and Services to Agriculture Industries. Occupational Health and Safety Performance Overviews. Selected Industries, Issue No. 9. Canberra: Government of Australia.


Synonyms: Glass installer; glass setter; glass-worker

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Installs glass (including mirrors, stained and other specially treated glass) in openings (windows, doors, show- cases, frames, etc.) and on surfaces (walls, ceilings, screens, tabletops, etc.). May cut, tint, decorate or otherwise treat glass before setting. If occupied in construction and designated Glazier (construction): installs glass in windows, skylights, store fronts and display cases or on surfaces, such as building fronts, interior walls, ceilings and tabletops. Marks outline or pattern on glass and cuts glass, using glasscutter. Breaks off excess glass by hand or with notched tool. Fastens glass panels into wood sash with glazier’s points and spreads and smooths putty around edge of panes with knife to seal joints. Installs mirrors or structural glass on building fronts, walls, ceilings or tables, using mastic, screws or decorative moulding. Bolts metal hinges, handles, locks and other hardware to prefabricated glass doors. Sets glass doors into frame and fits hinges. May install metal window and door frames into which glass panels are to be fitted. May press plastic adhesive film to glass or spray glass with tinting solution to prevent light glare. May install stained glass windows. May assemble and install metal-framed glass enclosures for showers and be designated Shower-enclosure Installer (construction). May be designated according to type of glass installed as Glazier, Structural Glass (construction); Plate-glass Installer (construction) (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Glazier, glass installer or glass setter designated according to industry (glazier (construction); glazier, metal furniture (furniture); refrigerator glazier (svc. ind. mach.); glass installer (automotive ser.); glass installer (woodworking)) or to a type of material used (mirror installer (construction); glazier, stained glass (glass products)). Also: edger, hand (glass mfg.; glass products); edger, touch-up (glass products); framer (glass products; wood prod., n.e.c.); frame repairer (glass products); glass cutter (any industry); glass decorator (glass mfg.; glass products); glass etcher (glass mfg.; glass products); glass finisher (glass products); glass sander, belt (glass products); glass tinter (glass products) (DOT).


Adjusting; aligning; applying; assembling; bolting; boring; breaking-off; calculating; checking; cleaning; coating; colouring; connecting; covering; cutting; decorating; determining; drilling; driving; edging; estimating; etching; fastening; filing; finishing; fitting; framing; glazing; gluing; hammering; handling; installing; inserting; joining; laying; lifting; loading and unloading; marking; measuring; moving; operating (equipment); pencil-edging; placing; polishing; positioning; preparing; pressing; preventing; puttying; reinforcing; repairing; replacing; removing; sanding; screwing; scribing; sealing; selecting; setting; shaping; sketching; smoothing; soldering; spraying; spreading; staining; tacking; tapping; tinting; touching up; transporting; weatherproofing; wiping.


Accident hazards

– Injuries, especially severe cuts to hands and feet and crushing of toes, caused by glass sheets and their sharp edges during cutting, moving, setting, and other handling operations;

– Cuts and stabs caused by working tools, such as chisels, glass-cutters, knives, etc.;

– Falls from heights while setting glass in windows, on walls and ceilings, etc., resulting in heavy traumas and sometimes death;

– Risk of being crushed under the weight of collapsed heavy glass sheet or pile of glass sheets;

– Slips, trips and falls on level surfaces, especially on wet, slippery and greasy floors, while moving glass sheets;

– Eye and skin injuries from glass splinters;

– Acute poisoning and/or chemical burns as a result of using strong reactives (e.g., hydrofluoric acid) for etching glass and similar purposes;

– Fire risk due to use of inflammables;

– Electric shocks caused by contact with defective electromechanical equipment.

Physical hazards

– Exposure of skin and eyes to ultraviolet radiation while working under direct solar rays;

– Cold or heat stress (resulting in effects ranging from temperature discomfort to frostbite or heatstroke, respectively) while working outdoors;

– Health effects (e.g., rheumatic, problems of airways, etc.) due to drafts, prolonged standing on concrete floors, etc.

Chemical hazards

– Chronic poisoning and/or skin diseases as a result of exposure to splinters of glass, containing lead, arsenic and other toxic elements;

– Chronic poisoning and/or dermatologic conditions (e.g., dermatitis) caused by putties, sealants, adhesives, solvents (e.g., when removing glass from its frame), cleansers, etc.;

– Chronic toxicological effects of exposure to fumes of strong reactives (e.g., hydrofluoric acid).

Biological hazards

Biological hazards may be encountered by glaziers working in an environment where they are potentially exposed to micro-organisms, allergenic plants, hair, fur, etc.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Acute musculoskeletal injuries caused by physical overexertion and awkward posture while carrying and otherwise handling bulky glass sheets;

– Cumulative trauma disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by long-time repetitive work involving primarily hand, arm, and finger movements;

– Tiredness and general ill feeling;

– Psychological stress resulting from the fear of falling from heights, or fear of failure while cutting, handling and setting expensive glass sheets, etc.


Synonyms: Adhesive worker; bonder; cementer; floor-layer and wall-coverer (construction ind.); gluing worker; adhesives applicator; adhesive joiner; veneer worker (furniture)

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Glues materials such as paper, cloth, leather, wood, metal, glass, rubber or plastic together, following specified procedures. Applies adhesive to surface or material by brushing, spraying, dipping, rolling, holding material against rotating saturated brush or feeding part between saturated rollers. Presses glued materials together manually, presses material with hand roller or clamps materials in fixture to bond material together and set glue. May perform limited assembly of preglued material. May trim excess material from cemented parts. May wipe surplus adhesive from seams, using cloth or sponge. May visually inspect completed work. May be designated according to article glued as Arrow-point Attacher (toy-sport equip.); Gasket Attacher (machinery mfg.); Nock Applier (toy-sport equip.); Pad Attacher (any industry); Sample Mounter (any industry); or according to gluing method used as Adhesive Sprayer (any industry). May also be designated: Box Coverer, Hand (paper goods); Glue Spreader (furniture); Paper-cone Maker (electron. comp.); Rubber Attacher (toy-sport equip.).

Related and specific occupations

Adhesive applicator; –/joiner; –/sprayer; bonding-machine operator; floor coverer; glue-bone worker; glue-jointer worker; glue-machine operator; glue-mill operator; glue mixer; –/spreader; gluing-machine operator; etc.


Affixing; applying (adhesives); aspirating (solvents); assembling; attaching (pads); binding (books); bonding; brushing; carpeting; carrying; cementing; clamping; cleaning and conditioning; climbing (ladders, scaffolding, etc.); coating; covering; cutting (carpets, wallpaper edges, etc.); dipping; dispensing (glue); driving; disposing (of waste); drying; documenting; feeding (machines); fitting; forming; gluing; handling; heating (glue); holding (tools); injecting (glue); inspecting; installing; insulating; joining (surfaces); kneeling (while carpeting, etc.); laminating; laying (floors); lifting and lowering; loading and unloading; maintaining; manufacturing; mixing (two-part glues, etc.); moulding; mounting; opening (containers, etc.); operating (equipment); ordering (materials); packing and unpacking; pasting; performing; positioning; pouring; preparing; pressing; regulating (spray flow, etc.); repairing; sealing; securing; selecting; setting; smoothing (surfaces); spraying; spreading; squeezing; storing; supervising; taping; testing (glue joints); transporting; trimming; unclogging (nozzles); upholstering; using (tools); washing (equipment, hands, etc.); wearing (personal protective equipment); weighing; wiping.

Primary equipment used

Hand brushes; rollers (hand-held or mechanized); spraying equipment (air pressure or airless; hand-held or automated); hot-melt jet pistols; drop dispensers; squeeze dispensers.

Industries in which this occupation is common

Adhesive tapes; air conditioning (manufacturing and installation); aircraft manufacturing and maintenance; appliances assembly; bookbinding; car manufacturing and maintenance; construction (floorlaying and wall covering); corrugated cardboard; disposable diapers; electronics; foam mattresses; footwear; furniture; jewellery; labelling and packaging in miscellaneous industries and services; lamination (paper and cardboard); leathergoods; plumbing (PVC and other plastic pipes); refrigeration; rubber goods; toys manufacturing; upholstering.


Accident hazards

– Injuries during work with mechanized equipment used for the mixing or application of glues (e.g., hair, beard, clothing or fingers entanglement in mechanical mixers or in presses);

– Falls from ladders (particularly in the case of wall coverers);

– Dropping of heavy glue containers on the toes or feet;

– Cuts during opening of glue containers of certain types;

– Bursting of clogged pressure-spraying nozzles, with particular hazard of eye damage, particularly in airless spraying;

– Bursting of pressurized containers;

– Burns and eye damage in the case of work with (particularly spraying of) hot-melt adhesives; burns from heated surfaces (e.g., of dryers or activation heaters).

– Splashing of irritants, allergens and otherwise hazardous fluids (solvents, thinners, liquid glues, strongly alkaline emulsions, etc.) into eyes or on skin, with possible ingestion, during mixing, transport or application of glues;

– Poisoning by phosgene (see note 1);

– Bonding of fingers (see note 2).

– Electric shock or electrocution risk, because of the use of hand-held electric tools (e.g., hot-melt pistols, electric fans, some spraying tools), particularly in work with water-based glues;

– High risk of fires and explosions because of the presence of flammable solvents and other flammable materials (e.g., paper and cardboard in bookbinding, wood and wood dust in furniture making, some flammable foams in insulation gluing, etc.) and the accumulation of solvent vapours, particularly in small and inadequately aerated premises (see Appendix);

– Explosions of hydrogen-air mixtures formed if highly alkaline glues are accidentally or mistakenly allowed to come into contact with aluminium surfaces.

Physical hazards

– Exposure to microwave radiation, IR or UV light, if used in the drying of glues;

– High noise levels, particularly in spraying operations.

Chemical hazards

– Erythema, skin sensitization, contact and systemic dermatoses as a result of exposure to many solvents and their vapours and to other glue components, particularly to epoxy resins, n-hexane, toluene, vinyl chloride, etc.;

– Contact skin depigmentation (vitiligo) in workers exposed to neoprene glues;

– Blistering of skin in contact with glues containing epichlorohydrin (e.g., epoxy glues);

– Eye irritation by glues or vapours containing epichlorohydrin, chlorinated solvents, toluene or xylene;

– Asphyxia in the case of exposure to high concentrations of n-hexane;

– Irritation of mouth, throat and nasal cavity by toluene, trichloroethylene or xylene;

– Respiratory tract irritation by solvent vapours, particularly n-hexane;

– Carbon monoxide poisoning from overheated hot-melt adhesives;

– Pneumoconioses from exposure to dust or fibres of some inorganic insulating materials being glued;

– Pulmonary oedema as a result of inhalation of vapours of mixed aliphatic solvents and gasoline;

– Pulmonary oedema, chemical pneumonitis and haemorrhages as a result of aspiration of liquid benzene or xylene;

– Gastrointestinal disturbances as a result of the ingestion of minute amounts of various glues, in particular during brushing of vinyl glues;

– Polyneuropathy, in particular by n-hexane;

– Depression of the central nervous system with possible headaches, dizziness, incoordination, stupor and coma as a result of inhalation of acrylonitrile, cyclohexane, toluene, xylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and trichloroethylene;

– Risk of spontaneous abortion or damage to the foetus in pregnant women exposed to organohalogen solvents;

– Blood changes and anaemia from exposure to benzene;

– Elevated blood pressure from exposure to dimethylformamide;

– Damage to the liver by dimethylformamide, tetrahydrofuran or vinyl chloride;

– Carcinogenicity. The following glue constituents or solvents have been classified as animal carcinogens (Category A3) by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH): acrylamide; chloroform; dinitrotoluene; epichlorohydrin; hexachloroethane; methylene chloride; 2-nitropropane. Acrylonitrile and ethyl acrylate have been classified as suspected human carcinogens (Category A2). Benzene has been classified as a confirmed human carcinogen (Category A1).

Biological hazards

– Exposure to pathogenic micro-organisms which may grow in certain types of glues (e.g., bone or casein glue).

Ergonomic and social factors

– Wrist, hand and arm problems (e.g., tenosynovitis as a result of repetitive motion when glues are applied by brushing or by squeeze-dispensing);

– Tiredness (in particular leg tiredness) in gluers continuously working in a standing position, as in a spraying station;

– Leg cramps and damage to knees in the case of floorlayers (carpet, parquet and strip layers); use of knees to move carpets during carpetlaying may cause bursitis (known in this case as “carpetlayer’s knee”);

– Strains and sprains caused by the lifting of heavy glue containers;

– Exposure to obnoxious smells, particularly from glues containing certain bactericides.



1. Severe and even fatal poisonings by phosgene have been reported for gluers who smoked while working with glues containing organohalogen solvents. When inhaled through a burning cigarette, such solvents are decomposed and partially converted into phosgene.

2. A hazard peculiar to gluers is the possible bonding of finger-to-finger, particularly when working with cyanoacrylate and some epoxy glues.

3. Severe injury may be caused, in particular during airless spray gluing, by high-pressure cutaneous injection of glue into the hands or arms.

4. “Glue sniffing”, and the related intoxication and neurotoxic effects, are a significant hazard because of the easy access to glues.

5. The use of benzene as a glue solvent has been banned in many countries.

6. Eye injuries have been caused by bursting of glue (in particular cyanoacrylate) during hard squeezing of tubes whose opening was clogged by a small amount of hardened glue.

7. Increased incidences of sinonasal cancer, rectal cancer and multiple sclerosis have been reported for gluers.


Chemical substances commonly used as glue constituents or solvents:

– Acetone

– Acrylamide polymers

– Acrylonitrile

– Adipic acid

– Aliphatic amines

– Benzene

– n-Butyl acetate

– n-Butyl acrylate

– Butylated hydroxytoluene

– p-tert-Butylphenol

– Chloroacetamide

– Chlorobenzene

– Collagen

– Colophony (rosin)

– Cyclohexane

– Cyclohexanone

– Diaminodiphenylmethane

– Dibutyl maleinate

– o-Dichlorobenzene

– 1,1-Dichloroethane

– Dichloromethane (methylene chloride)

– Dichloropropane

– 2,2-Dimethylbutane

– Epoxy resins

– Ethanol

– Ethyl acetate

– Ethyl butyl ketone

– Ethylcyanoacrylate

– Ethylvinyl acrylate

– Formaldehyde

– n-heptane

– n-hexane

– 2-Hydroxypropyl methacrylate

– Isobutyl alcohol

– Isophoronediamine

– Isopropyl acetate

– Isopropyl alcohol

– Kerosene

– Maleic anhydride

– Methanol

– Methyl butyl ketone

– Methylene chloride

– Methyl chloroform (1,1,1-trichloroethane)

– Methyl cyanoacrylate

– Methyl ethyl ketone

– Methyl isobutyl ketone

– Methyl methacrylate

– Methyl pentanes

– Naphtha solvent

– Naphtha VM&P

– Natural latex

– Neoprene

– Nitrobenzene

– 2-Nitropropane

– Pentachlorophenol

– Pentane

– Perchloroethylene

– Phenol-formaldehyde resins

– Polyamide resins

– Polyester resins

– Polyimide resins

– Polyoxyalkene glycols

– Polyurethane resins

– Polyvinyl acetate

– Polyvinyl alcohol

– Polyvinyl chloride

– Stoddard’s solvent

– Styrene acrylate

– Tetrachloroethylene (perchloethylene)

– Tetrahydrofuran

– Toluene

– Toluene diisocyanate

– 1,1,1-Trichloroethane

– Trichloroethylene

– Vinyl acetate

– Xylene


Synonyms: Driver, truck/heavy; lorry driver; road-transport driver; teamster; trailer-truck driver; truck driver, heavy; trucker; truckman/woman

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Drives truck with capacity of more than 3 tonnes, to transport materials to and from specified destinations. Drives truck to destination, applying knowledge of commercial driving regulations and area roads. Prepares receipts for loads picked up. Collects payment for goods delivered and for delivery charges. May maintain truck log, according to applicable regulations. May maintain telephone or radio contact with supervisor to receive delivery instructions. May load and unload truck. May inspect truck equipment and supplies, such as tyres, lights, brakes, gas, oil and water. May perform emergency roadside repairs, such as changing tyres, installing light bulbs, tyre chains and spark plugs. May position blocks and tie rope around items to secure cargo during transit. When driving truck equipped for specific purposes, such as fighting fires, digging holes and installing and repairing utility company lines, may be designated Fire-truck Driver (petrol & gas); Hole-digger-truck Driver (construction; tel. & tel.; utilities). When specializing in making deliveries, may be designated Delivery-truck Driver, Heavy (any industry). May be designated according to type of truck driven as Truck Driver, Flatbed (logging). May be designated according to kind of cargo transported as Water Hauler (logging) (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Truck driver, light (including food-service driver; liquid-fertilizer driver, etc.); concrete-mixing-truck driver; dump-truck driver; truck driver, inflammables (including explosives truck driver; powder-truck driver; tank-truck driver, etc.); trailer-truck driver (including tractor-trailer-truck driver; log-truck driver; semi-trailer or full-trailer driver, etc.); truck driver, heavy (including milk driver/hauler; garbage collector driver; watertruck driver; van driver, etc.); bus, tram (streetcar) and trolley-bus drivers.


Adjusting; applying; arranging; assembling; assisting; attaching; banding; braking; camping; carrying; changing; checking; cleaning; collecting; communicating; computing; connecting and disconnecting; controlling; delivering; digging; directing; disengaging; dispatching; disposing; distributing; dividing; documenting; driving; dumping; elevating; emptying; examining; fastening; filling; fueling; gauging; greasing; handling; hauling; hoisting; honking; inspecting; jerking; lifting; loading and unloading; locating (shipment addresses); logging; lubricating; maintaining; manoeuvring; measuring; mending; metering; mixing; monitoring; moving; observing; operating; overseeing; packing and unpacking; padding; parking; performing; placing; positioning; preparing; pulling and pushing; pumping; raising; reading; recording; recovering; refilling; registering; regulating; releasing; repairing; replacing; reporting; reversing; roping; sampling; securing; servicing; serving; spraying; sprinkling; stacking; steering; sterilizing (milk containers); storing; submitting; supervising; testing; towing; transporting; tying; warning; washing; wrapping; wrenching; writing.


Accident hazards

– Increased risk of road accidents due to lengthy driving periods (especially for transcontinental and other long-haul truck drivers), including night driving, driving under unfavourable weather conditions, under bad road conditions and through excessive traffic jams (risk is increased due to driver’s physical and mental fatigue and boredom resulting from long driving hours, short rest periods, drowsiness, irregular eating and bad diet habits, excessive alcohol drinking, driving at high speeds due to the bonus payment system, etc.);

– Road accidents due to loss of control while driving heavily loaded truck on steep and slippery roads at extreme temperatures and other climatic conditions;

– Road accidents due to driving while using tranquilizers, chemical stimulants or drugs against common diseases whose side effects include drowsiness, sleepiness and alertness-reducing impairment of sensomotoric functions (especially delayed reaction and inadequate coordination);

– Overturning of heavily loaded truck due to mechanical failure, difficult road conditions and/or excessive speed, head-on collisions, etc., with resulting life-threatening trapping of driver inside cabin or under the truck;

– Accidents caused by uncoupling of the locking device securing the tractor to the trailer;

– Slips, trips and falls from a high cabin, cabin ladder or trailer;

– Danger of being crushed between tractor and trailer, or between trailers, while trying to disengage one from another;

– Injuries due to accidental bumping into unguarded rigid parts of truck or cargo;

– Injuries while performing various functions of a heavy truck driver (e.g., field repair work, tyre change, unfastening tight bands and ropes, etc.);

– Injuries using various maintenance and repair tools: wrenches, knives, jacks, etc.;

– Explosions, chemical burns, acute poisoning by toxic chemicals, impaired vision, etc., caused by hazardous cargo, such as explosives and inflammables, strong reactives, toxic substances and dust-forming bulk solids;

– Acute poisoning by exhaust gases, including carbon monoxide;

– Fire hazards as a result of spills and leaks of inflammables (usually in tank trucks) that may ignite on contact with open flame, hot surfaces, electric sparks, atmospheric or electrostatic discharges, or as a result of mechanical shock following road collision, overturning, etc. (the hazard is also to the environment);

– Explosion of over-inflated tyres;

– Traumas, such as hernia rupture, due to physical overexertion (changing tyres, moving heavy pieces of cargo, fastening ropes, etc.).

Physical hazards

– Exposure to prolonged excessive engine noise of high amplitude (greater than 80 dBA) and/or low frequency, resulting in early (severe headache) or delayed (hearing loss, etc.) detrimental effects;

– Exposure to ionizing radiation while transporting radioisotopes (frequently kept, for security reasons, inside the driver’s cabin);

– Exposure to direct and reflected ultraviolet (solar) radiation;

– Exposure to potentially health-detrimental climatic factors, such as extreme cold or heat, or combinations of temperature, humidity and wind, resulting in frostbite or heat stroke;

– Exposure to sudden ambient temperature changes when leaving and entering the climatic-conditioned cabin, resulting in colds and/or rheumatic effects;

– Whole-body vibrations that may impair functions of chest and abdominal organs and musculoskeletal system, contribute to driver’s fatigue and decrease his/her alertness.

Chemical hazards

– Exposure to various toxic substances (in solid, liquid, or gaseous state) while transporting hazardous cargo (a few thousand substances, classified by the United Nations into 9 groups: explosives, gases, inflammable liquids, inflammable solids, oxidizing substances, poisonous and infectious substances, radioactive substances, corrosives, miscellaneous hazardous substances) that may result in chronic health-detrimental effects, including carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, etc.;

– Skin diseases and conditions (various types of dermatitis, skin sensitization, eczema, oil acne, etc.) caused by exposure to chemicals (e.g., cleaning and rinsing compounds, antifreeze and brake fluids, gasoline, diesel oil, oils, etc.);

– Chronic effects caused by inhalation of gasoline or diesel-fuel fumes and exhaust gases containing carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, etc.

Biological hazards

Contamination and infection caused by exposure to biologically hazardous cargo.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Low back pain and pains in the joints (of legs and hands/arms) caused by prolonged driving, sometimes over bumpy roads, and/or inadequate seats;

– Rheumatic disorders (including sinistral scapulohumeral arthrosis or periarthritis) due to the habit of resting elbow on the window frame during driving;

– Digestive tract disorders caused by irregular eating and poor dietary habits;

– Hypnotic hallucinations during periods of drowsiness and psychic disorders caused by mental and emotional stress factors;

– Increased incidence of myocardial infarction among obese drivers;

– Smoking inside cabin, contributing to health deterioration;

– Visual discomfort and eye problems caused by inadequate illumination and eyestrain (especially when driving at dark time on interurban roads);

– Exposure to peer violence (e.g., in roadside cafeterias, etc.) and to petty and gang (including organized) crime attracted by valuable cargo (especially when driving in countries with inadequate law enforcement);

– Development of lumbago caused by vibrations, inadequate vehicle suspension, uncomfortable seats, etc.;

– Pathologic changes and premature ageing of the lumbosacral part of the spine, which may cause accelerated creation of intervertebral lumbar discs (also possibly related to routine handling of heavy loads);

– Increased chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (especially in the group of long-haul drivers spending long periods of time away from home).



International Labour Organization (ILO). 1972. Working Conditions and Safety Provisions Applying to Persons Employed in Road Transport. Inland Transport Committee, 9th Session. Geneva: ILO.

—. 1977. Hours of Work and Rest Periods in Road-transport. Report VII(1), International Labour Conference, 64th Session. Geneva: ILO.


Synonyms: Laboratory hand/workhand/workman/workwoman

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Laboratory Worker (any industry) is a term for any worker in a laboratory performing routine or special tests or research. Classifications are made according to type of work as Biochemist (profess. and kin.); Food Tester (any industry); Laboratory Tester (any industry); Scientific Helper (profess. and kin.) (DOT). A Laboratory Tester (any industry) performs laboratory tests according to prescribed standards to determine chemical and physical characteristics or composition of solid, liquid or gaseous materials for such purposes as quality control, process control or product development. Sets up, adjusts and operates laboratory equipment and instruments, such as microscopes, centrifuge, agitators, viscosimeter, chemical balance scales, spectrophotometer, gas chromatograph, colorimeter and other equipment. Tests materials used as ingredients in adhesives, cement, propellants, lubricants, refractories, synthetic rubber, plastics, paint, paper, cloth, and other products for such qualities as purity, stability, viscosity, density, absorption, burning rate and melting or flash point. Tests solutions used in processes, such as anodizing, waterproofing, cleaning, bleaching and pickling for chemical concentration, specific gravity or other characteristics. Tests materials for presence and content of elements or substances, such as hydrocarbons, manganese, natural grease, tungsten, sulphur, cyanide, ash, dust or impurities. Tests samples of manufactured products to verify conformity to specifications. Records test results on standardized forms and writes test reports describing procedures used. Cleans and sterilizes laboratory equipment. May prepare graphs and charts. May prepare chemical solutions according to standard formulas. May add chemicals or raw materials to process solutions or product batches to correct or establish formulation required to meet specifications. May calibrate laboratory instruments. May be designated according to product or material tested (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Laboratory aide; –/assistant; –/chief; –/clerk; –/equipment installer; –/helper; –/inspector; –/manager; –/re- searcher; –/sample carrier; –/sampler; –/supervisor; –/technician; –/tester, etc.


Adding (chemicals to solution, etc.); adjusting (equipment); agitating; analysing; anaesthetizing; applying; appraising; asphyxiating; aspirating; assembling (systems); assisting; assuring (quality, consistency, etc.); attaching (tubing); attending; balancing (scales); bleaching; blending; boiling; burning; calculating; calibrating (instruments); carrying; centrifuging; classifying; cleaning; climbing; coating (metals, etc.); collecting (samples); comparing (to standards, etc.); computing; condensing; conducting (tests); connecting and disconnecting; controlling; cooling; counting; crushing; cutting (tissues); describing; determining (test parameters, etc.); diluting; dipping; dis- infecting; dispensing (aliquots); disposing; distilling; documenting; drying; elevating; ensuring; evaluating; examining; feeding; filtering; fitting; flaming; flushing; freezing (tissues); glass-blowing; grinding; handling; heating; holding (instruments, etc.); humidifying; identifying; immersing; incubating; inflating; injecting; inoculating; inspecting; installing; instructing; investigating; labelling; lifting; loading and unloading; maintaining; managing; manipulating; marking; measuring; metering; mixing; monitoring; moving; notifying; observing; operating; ordering (chemicals, etc.); performing (tests); pipetting; placing; polishing; pouring; preparing (samples, etc.); processing, pulverizing; pumping; purchasing; raising; reading; recording; record-keeping; refrigerating; regulating (flows, etc.); removing; repairing; reporting; researching; sampling; screwing; sealing; securing; selecting; separating; setting; setting-up; sieving; soldering; sterilizing; storing; straining; studying; sucking; supervising; tagging; testing; training; transferring; transporting; using; ventilating; verifying (conformity to standards, etc.); washing; wearing (personal protection equipment, etc.); weighing; writing (reports).

Primary equipment used

Disposable glass and plastic equipment (flasks, jars, pipettes, micropipettes; burettes, beakers, dishes, cocks, rigid and flexible tubing, etc.); handling and securing devices (pincers, tweezers, manipulators, jacks, pliers, stands, screw drivers, etc.); automatic dispensing equipment (e.g., automatic pipettes); scales and balances; sieves, filters, pumps, mixers and blenders; gas-, liquid- and solid-sampling instruments; particle counting instruments; heating, cooling and tempera- ture measuring or maintaining equipment (plates, jackets, ovens, gas burners, infrared heaters, immersion heaters, refrigerators, Peltier-effect cold plates, pyrometers, thermometers, thermostats, etc.); vacuum pumps, flasks, gauges, etc.; calculators, recorders, computers and peripherals; personal protective equipment; etc.; specialized equipment for specific purposes (e.g., optical and electron microscopes); pH meters; ion-selective electrodes; power supplies, potentiostats and galvanostats; immunoassay kits, materials testing instruments, incubators and autoclaves; humidity testers, flow meters, colorimeters and calorimeters; gas and liquid chromatographs; mass spectrometers, IR and Raman spectroscopes; x-ray diffraction and fluorescence analysers, lasers; radiation sources, probes, dosimeters and monitors; glove boxes; hoods; microtomes; etc.

Industries in which this occupation is common

Chemical, petroleum and petrochemical, food, rubber, polymer, metallurgical and metal finishing, paper and other industries; universities, schools, research institutes; hospitals and medical clinics; standards institutions; public and private testing, inspection and quality assurance laboratories.


Accident hazards

– Slips and falls on wet floors; falls from ladders;

– Cuts and stabs from sharp edges, broken glass;

– Fire and explosions in work with flammable gases, liquids and solids;

– Fires and explosions from uncontrolled chemical reactions;

– Implosions of vacuum equipment;

– Falls of heavy objects on head (from overhead storage shelves) and feet;

– Entanglement of dressing, hair, fingers and arms in rotating and other moving equipment, in particular centrifuges, mixers, blenders, etc.;

– Explosion of elevated-pressure equipment;

– Electrocution and electric shock;

– Burns and scalds from flames, hot surfaces, hot gases and liquids;

– Chemical burns from corrosive fluids;

– Flying particles from the bursting of centrifuges and autoclaves;

– Acute poisoning by a wide variety of poisonous gases, liquids and solids used as starting materials or released in chemical reactions;

– Damage to eyes from laser beams, splashes of chemicals, corrosive gases and flying particles;

– “Freeze burns”, or frostbite, from skin contact with very cold surfaces or fluids (e.g., liquefied gases).

Physical hazards

– Ionizing and ultraviolet radiation;

– High noise, subsonic or ultrasonic levels from vibrating or rotating equipment.

Chemical hazards

Exposure to an extremely wide variety of chemical substances (chemical laboratory workers may be exposed to any known chemical agents or combinations thereof), including corrosive, irritating, toxic, neurotoxic, asphyxiating, allergenic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, foetotoxic, enzyme inhibiting, radioactive and similar substances, by way of inhalation, ingestion, skin, eye contact, etc. (see Appendix).

Biological hazards

Exposure to an extremely wide variety of biological agents (biological laboratory workers may be exposed to any known biological agents or combinations thereof) including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., by way of inhalation, ingestion, skin, eye contact, transmission by laboratory animal bites or stings, accidental injection, etc.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Eye strain from work with optical and electron microscopes, telescopic manipulators, computer terminals, work in dark or semi-dark rooms, etc.;

– Musculoskeletal effects from routine work in a fixed position;

– Hand stress and strain from repetitive manual operations (e.g., in pipetting, non-automated counting, manual polishing, etc.).



A special hazard exists when working with new chemical substances (NCSs) whose physical, chemical, biological and other effects have not been adequately investigated. NCSs may be explosive or highly flammable or form explosive mixtures with air or other substances. NCSs may be highly poisonous, corrosive to the skin, eyes or respiratory system, carcinogenic, teratogenic, mutagenic, etc., or have a synergistic effect with other substances.


Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 1984. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical laboratories. DHHS (CDC) Publication No. 84-8395. Atlanta, GA: CDC.

Mahn, JW. 1991. Fundamentals of laboratory Safety: Physical Hazards in the Academic Laboratory. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Stricoff, RS and DB Walters. 1996. Handbook of Laboratory Health and Safety, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Interscience.

World Health Organization (WHO). 1983. Laboratory Safety Manual. Geneva: WHO.


United Nations classification of hazardous substances:

Class 1: Explosives

1.1. Substances and articles which have a mass explosion hazard.

1.2. Substances and articles which have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard.

1.3. Substances and articles which have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard.

1.4. Substances and articles which present no significant hazard.

1.5. Very insensitive substances which have a mass explosion hazard.

1.6. Extremely insensitive substances which do not have a mass explosion hazard.

Class 2: Gases

Compressed, liquefied, dissolved under pressure or deeply refrigerated.

Class 3: Flammable Liquids

Class 4: Flammable Solids

4.1. Flammable solids.

4.2. Substances liable to spontaneous combustion.

4.3. Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases.

Class 5: Oxidizing Solids

Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances

Class 7: Radioactive Material

Class 8: Corrosive Substances

Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances and Articles


Synonyms: Patternmaker; model builder; modeller

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Constructs scale models of objects or situations. Builds and moulds models, using clay, metal, wood, plastics, rubber or other materials, depending on industry for which model is constructed. Uses experience, skills and special knowledge to understand the customer’s requirements expressed in documents, drawings, sketches, etc.; selects appropriate methods, tools and technological processes; designs and manufactures the model; verifies its correspondence to the requirements and specifications. May make frames, showcases, etc. for models and glaze them. May disassemble or otherwise utilize models that are no longer usable. May repair or modify existing models. May test, demonstrate and operate model at the place of manufacture or at the customer’s premises. May instruct others how to use model.

Related and specific occupations

Model maker or patternmaker designated according to industry (e.g., model maker (aut. mfg.), model maker (jewellery-silver), model maker (pottery and porcelain)), to principal material used (e.g., model maker (wood), model maker (sheet-metal)) or to specific class of products (relief-map modeller, model maker (house appliances), etc.) (DOT).


Abrading; adjusting; aligning; analysing; applying; ascertaining; assembling; blueprinting; bolting; bonding; boring; brazing; brushing; building; carving; casting; checking; chiselling; clamping; cleaning; coating; conferring; connecting; constructing; consulting; correcting; covering; cutting; deburring; demonstrating; designing; determining; disassembling; disconnecting; dismantling; drawing; drilling; estimating; examining; fabricating; fastening; filing; filling; finishing; fitting; forming; framing; glazing; grinding; gluing; hammering; hand-finishing; indicating; inspecting; installing; instructing; interpreting (drawings, etc.); joining; lacquering; laying out; lifting; machining; maintaining; making; manufacturing; marking; measuring; melting; mending; milling; mixing; modifying; moulding; moving; painting; performing; placing; planing; planning; polishing; positioning; pouring; preparing; pressing; producing; pulling; punching; pushing; reading (specifications, etc.); reassembling; recasting; repairing; replacing; removing; riveting; sanding; scraping; screwing; scribing; selecting; servicing; setting-up; shaping; sharpening; shaving; sketching; smoothing; soldering; spreading; studying; testing; transporting; trimming; tuning; using; utilizing; verifying; waxing; welding; wiring.


Accident hazards

– Injuries during work with machining equipment, such as lathes, drills, discs, shapers and various cutting and hand tools (e.g. cutters, wrenches, screwdrivers, chisels, etc.);

– Stabs and cuts caused by knives, sharp objects, hand tools, banging on metal pieces, etc.;

– Slips, trips and falls, especially when moving raw materials and completed heavy models;

– Falls on level surfaces, especially on wet, slippery and greasy floors;

– Crushing of toes as a result of falls of heavy objects on feet;

– Burns and scorches as a result of contact with hot materials or heated tools; soldering, brazing and welding operations, etc.;

– Eye injuries from splinters and flying objects during grinding, machining, abrading, polishing, boring and similar operations; as a result of splashes of corrosive and reactive chemicals, etc.;

– Fires and explosions caused by flammable and explosive substances (e.g., solvents) or by flames originating from flame and arc cutting and welding operations, etc;

– Electric shocks caused by contact with defective electric and electromechanical equipment.

Physical hazards

– Hazards commonly associated with a specific industry (e.g., exposure to excessive heat from furnaces in pottery industry).

Chemical hazards

– Chronic poisoning and/or skin diseases as a result of exposure to a wide range of industrial chemicals (e.g. solvents, lacquers, varnishes, cleaners, paint removers and thinners);

– Eye irritation, dizziness, nausea, breathing problems, headaches, etc., caused by contact with irritating substances (e.g., wood and metal dusts, fumes and solvents);

– In some industries, pronounced increased risk of certain cancers due to exposure to wood products, dust, plastics, solvents, etc.;

– Gastrointestinal disturbances as a result of chronic ingestion of adhesives, paints, solvents, etc.;

– Excessive exposure to ozone during arc welding.

Biological hazards

Biological hazards may be encountered by model makers working in an environment where they are potentially exposed to micro-organisms, allergenic plants, hair, fur, etc.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Acute musculoskeletal injuries caused by physical overexertion and incorrect combination of weight and posture during lifting and moving heavy loads of raw materials and completed models;

– Cumulative trauma disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by long-time repetitive work;

– Tiredness and general ill feeling;

– Psychological stress resulting from the fear of making unnoticed flaws in the model that will be replicated in mass production items and when trying to meet difficult or unusual job specifications or tight time schedules.


Synonyms: Brusher; lacquerer; paint sprayer; paint worker

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Applies paint to surfaces. Prepares walls, metal, wood or other surfaces for painting. Spreads dropcloths over floors, machines and furnishings. Erects scaffolding or sets up ladders for work above ground level. Removes fixtures (such as pictures, nails, and electric switch covers). Removes old paint using paint remover, scraper, wire brush or blow-torch. Fills holes, cracks and joints with caulk, putty, plaster or other filler. Smooths surface using sandpaper, steel, wool and/or brushes. Washes and treats surfaces with water or other cleaning media. Selects premixed paint or mixes paint components. Applies coats of paint, varnish, stain, enamel or lacquer to surfaces using brushes, spray guns, rollers or electrostatic equipment. May dry or bake paint in special ovens. May cut stencils and brush or spray decorations and lettering on surfaces.


Air-drying; applying (paint); blowing (dry air); bolting; bonding; brushing; burning; calculating; carrying; caulking; cementing; cleaning; climbing; coating; cutting; decorating; dissolving; drying; depositing (electrostatically); enam- elling; erecting (scaffolds); filling; filtering; finishing; gluing; grinding; hauling; lacquering; lettering; loading and unloading; marking; masking; matching; measuring; mixing; moving; operating (spray gun etc.); painting; pasting; patterning; plastering; pouring; preparing (surfaces); purchasing; puttying; regulating (flow); removing (paint, rust, fixtures, etc.); repairing; rolling; rubbing; sanding; scraping; screwing and unscrewing; sealing; selecting; setting-up (ladders, etc.); shot blasting; smoothening; spraying; spreading; staining; stamping (patterns and designs); stripping; taping; touching up; tracing; transferring; transporting; varnishing; washing; waxing; whitewashing; wiping; wrenching.

Primary equipment used

Hand brushes; rollers; spraying equipment (air pressure or airless; hand-held or automated); electrostatic painting equipment; paint-drying ovens, lamps or hot-air blowers; paint mixing equipment; paint-stripping tools (manual or electric).


Accident hazards

– Falls from height (falls from ladders, from fixed and mobile elevated platforms, from scaffolds, from roofs, from tank tops, through opening in roofs, etc.);

– Slips and falls on level surfaces, in particular on slippery floors;

– Electrocution or electric shock (from faulty electrical equipment, through contact of metallic ladders with electric lines, during work with high-voltage electrostatic painting equipment, etc.);

– Hypodermal injection of paint into fingers, hands and (less frequently) other parts of the body when working with high-pressure airless spraying equipment. Such injection may cause deep penetration and amputation of affected fingers;

– Severe mechanical damage to eyes by high-pressure paint jets;

– Fire and explosions of flammable paint solvents and other constituents, especially when working (painting or mixing paints) in confined spaces with poor ventilation. Furniture lacquers may contain nitrocellulose, which is an explosive substance and may explode on impact or heating, if residues of the lacquer are allowed to dry;

– Fire and explosions as a result of electrostatic discharges during electrostatic painting with powdered paints, or as a result of sparks generated when metal particles (e.g., in paints containing metal powders) impact on the painted metal surface, or as a result of ignition of paints with binders which oxidize on contact with air;

– Clothes catching fire, within or outside the painting zone, when impregnated with paints or oil;

– Paint-splashing accidents from burst piping or when trying to unclog clogged spray nozzles;

– Penetration of foreign particles into the eyes during surface preparation for painting (e.g., by shot-blasting or sanding);

– Cuts, stabs, abrasions, etc. in fingers and hands during surface preparation by mechanical means;

– Penetration of skin by wood splinters when preparing wood surfaces for painting;

– Crushing of limbs or blows to other body parts when working in a suspended position;

– Skin abrasions from ladder rungs;

– Eye irritation or damage to the cornea from solvent droplets splashed into the eyes;

– Asphyxiation in confined spaces as a result of oxygen deficiency aggravated by the presence of solvent vapours.

Physical hazards

– Noise from spray guns or shot-blasting equipment;

– Exposure to UV or IR radiation, or heat, from paint-drying equipment;

– Exposure to cold, rain, snow and winds in winter, or to heat and sunrays in summer, particularly in outside work;

– Exposure to draughts in unfinished buildings.

Chemical hazards

– Occupational contact dermatitis as a result of exposure to various paint components or solvents, in particular to aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and organohalogen compounds;

– Irritation of the eyes (with possible permanent damage to vision) and the respiratory tract by various paint components, in particular toluene and methylene diisocyanates;

– Acute intoxication, mainly as a result of inhalation of solvents, especially in confined spaces with inadequate ventilation. Mild intoxication has a narcotic effect which reduces vigilance and markedly increases the risk of falls or other accidents, sometimes with severe consequences. Severe intoxication may be fatal;

– Poisoning by phosgene formed from various chlorinated solvents in contact with a heat source under partial combustion conditions;

– Poisoning by lead in primers and by other metal constituents of paints (e.g., mercury and arsenic compounds used as fungicides in latex paints, organotin compounds in marine antifouling paints, zinc chromate in various lead-free primers, etc.);

– Poisoning by paint strippers such as methylene chloride or mixed solvents;

– Poisoning by hazardous paint constituents, depending on the type of paint used (e.g. formaldehyde in melamine/formaldehyde paints, epoxy resins in epoxy paints, toluene diisocyanate and methylene diisocyanate in polyurethane paints, etc.);

– Neurotoxic effect as a result of work with paints containing n-hexane solvents or lead pigments.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Neck or shoulder pains, sprain and strain of upper limbs, and musculoskeletal disorders, as a result of awkward postures, in particular during the painting of ceilings;

– Eye strain in painters of small articles;

– Knee pains and injuries to cartilage of the knee joints;

– Cardiorespiratory strains when using respiratory-protection equipment.



1. Reports have been published according to which painters may be at increased risk of cancer of the lungs, the bladder, the stomach, the kidneys, the oesophagus and the large intestines; of leukaemia, if using paint containing benzene; of presenile dementia as a result of exposure to solvents; of endocrinal disorders; of chronic bronchitis and respiratory obstructions diseases; of mixed-dust pneumoconiosis; of renal failure; and of chronic eye-lens damage as a result of long-term solvent exposure. 

2. A special risk exists in the mechanical or chemical stripping or burning of old paints. The use of pigments containing lead, arsenic or mercury in modern paints is now severely restricted and in many countries it is prohibited by law (except for some specialized applications); old paints, however, may contain substantial amounts of such pigments, and during their stripping or burning the pigments are released into the air as dust or fumes, exposure to which may cause lead, mercury or arsenic poisoning.

3. It has been reported that exposure to ethylene glycol ethers and acetates present in paints may have an adverse effect on the reproductive system.


Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 1991. Health and Safety in Motor-vehicle Repair: Painting. HSE Publication HS(G) 67. London: HSE.

O’Neill, L. 1995. Health and safety in paints and painting. In Croner’s Handbook of Occupational Hygiene. Vol. 2, part 8.19. Kingston-upon-Thames: Croner’s Publications Ltd.


Chemicals and chemical products to which a painter may be exposed: Paint stripping formulations containing, in particular, methylene chloride, cresol, phenol, potassium hydroxide, and/or alicylic hydrocarbons (e.g., methylcyclohexane). Paint components including, in particular, cadmium, lead, organotin, mercury and arsenic compounds, chromates, epoxy, polyurethane, acrylate, vinyl and other resins and their constituents. Solvents and diluents including, in particular, turpentine, petroleum fractions (naphtha, white spirit, Stoddard’s solvent), n-hexane, toluene, xylene, benzene, acetone, methyl ethyl and other ketones, alcohols (methyl, ethyl, isopropyl, amyl, etc.), formaldehyde, phenol, etc. Cleaning formulations including acids (which may contain various organic inhibitors), alkalis, organic solvents, etc.


Synonyms: Applicator, pesticides; exterminator; exterminator, vermin and rodent; fumigator and sterilizer; pest-control worker; scout (agriculture); sprayer, pesticides; sprayer/duster, pesticides

Job profile

Definition and/or description

An Exterminator (business ser.) sprays chemical solutions or toxic gases and sets mechanical traps to kill pests that infest buildings and surrounding areas. Fumigates rooms and buildings, using toxic gases. Sprays chemical solutions or dusts powders in rooms and work areas. Places poisonous paste or bait and mechanical traps where pests are present. May clean areas that harbour pests, using rakes, brooms, shovels, and mops, preparatory to fumigating. May be required to hold state licence. May be designated according to type of pest eliminated as Rodent Exterminator (business ser.) (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Agricultural aircraft pilot (airplane pilot, cropdusting; aerial applicator, pilot; or pest-control, pilot); agricultural-chemicals inspector; autoclave operator; exterminator helper; hand-spray operator; herbicide worker/handler; insecticide mixer (chemical); insect-sprayer, mobile unit; mosquito sprayer; pasteurizer; pesticide-control inspector; pesticide maker; sanitarian-exterminator; sprayer, insecticide; sprayer hand (agriculture); sterilizer-operator (beverages; –/ dairy products; –/ feathers; –/ medical services; etc.); supervisor, extermination; supervisor, insect and disease inspection; termite-treater; weed-inspector (DOT); agricultural worker exposed to pesticide residues (gardener, nursery or greenhouse worker); field fumigator; pesticide ground-applicator; pesticide mixer and/or loader; pesticide store worker; pilot flagger to aircraft, etc.


Adding (chemicals); advising (customers); analysing; applying; assisting; authorizing; baiting; blending; bolting; boring; briefing (workers, etc.); burning (weeds); calculating; calling; carrying; checking; clamping; cleaning; climbing; collecting; confiscating; controlling; coordinating; crawling; cutting; destroying; detecting; determining; digging; directing; discharging (gases); distributing; drilling; driving; dusting; eliminating; ensuring; estimating; evaluating; examining; exterminating; fastening; filing; flushing; fogging; formulating (pesticide mixtures); fumigating; gassing; gauging; hammering; handling; identifying; igniting; impregnating (soil); initiating; injecting; inserting; inspecting; installing; instructing; interviewing; investigating; isolating; issuing; keeping; killing; laying (blocks); loading and unloading; locating; maintaining; manipulating (levers); marking; measuring; mixing; modifying; moving; notifying; observing; obtaining; opening; operating; padlocking; painting; performing; piloting; placing; pointing (nozzle); poisoning; positioning; posting; pouring; preparing; preventing; producing; pulling and pushing; pumping; quarantining; raising; recommending; recording; releasing; removing; replacing; reporting; reviewing; sampling; sawing; sealing; searching; securing; selecting; setting; shooting; signalling; spraying; spreading; sterilizing; studying; supervising; surveying; taping; teaching; tending (machines); transferring; transporting; trapping; treating; turning; updating; using; visiting; weighing; wrapping.


Accident hazards

– Increased risk of road accidents due to lengthy periods of driving heavily loaded vehicles, frequently towing trailers and mechanical spraying equipment, on deteriorated field roads and under unfavourable weather conditions;

– Hazards associated with a flight aboard light aircraft (including helicopters) at low altitude (typical for pest exterminators engaged in aerial operations), including aircraft crashes, exposure to pesticides carried into the cockpit onto clothes and footwear, or during accidental flying through a cloud of sprayed pesticides (drift cloud); as a result of leakage from hoppers, etc.;

– Hazards to ground personnel engaged in aerial pesticide application (loaders, flagmen, agricultural workers, etc.), including risk of being struck by aircraft during take-off, landing, taxiing or low altitude flight; accidental exposure to pesticides as a result of pesticide-loaded aircraft crash, leakage from hoppers, etc.;

– Risk of being hit by a train while exterminating pests between the rails of a railroad;

– Slips, trips, falls and bumps (on slippery surfaces and at obstacles, especially while wearing protective mask limiting the field of vision); falls of exterminator-helper from the towed equipment; falls from elevated platforms and stairs, especially when carrying containers and other heavy loads;

– Falls of heavy loads, especially containers, on workers’ feet;

– Stabs and cuts caused by sharp objects;

– Stepping on sharp discarded objects while carrying out spraying work in the field;

– Bursting of overpressurized spraying vessels, resulting in pesticide splashes capable of hitting the operator;

– Hazard of snake bites or wasp and bee stings while carrying out spraying work in the field;

– Risk of hernia as a result of overstrenuous movements when lifting and loading heavy loads;

– Acute poisoning while applying pesticides (especially as a result of inhaling aerosols while not wearing protective mask; could be fatal), or as a result of spills and fires during transportation and storage of pesticides;

– Accidental contamination or poisoning of exterminators during the process of mixing extremely concentrated and highly hazardous pesticides;

– Splashes of pesticides on face and/or hands while preparing pesticide formulations;

– Accidental inhalation of pesticide spray (caused by a sudden change of wind, or by a poorly selected and maintained protective mask, etc.);

– Risk of incidental swallowing of a liquid pesticide mistakenly thought to be water, or of pesticide-polluted irrigation water (may occasionally happen to agricultural workers and particularly to children, not directly engaged in the extermination work but present at its site), or as a result of incidental contact with, or use of, discarded and empty pesticide containers;

– Skin burns as a result of excessive exposure of unprotected skin to pesticides (e.g., to diquat dibromide solutions);

– Electric shocks caused by contact with defective electromechanical equipment;

– Electric hazards while exterminating pests around power line pylons;

– Acute intoxication as a result of release into the atmosphere of hazardous compounds (e.g., HCN, SO2, NOx) during accidental (fires or explosions) or intentional (owing to poor judgment) burning of pesticides or pesticide containers at manufacturing, storing, formulating, and similar establish-ments, or at application sites;

– Skin and eye irritation, chest tightness, nausea, limb numbness, asphyxia, etc., in firefighters engaged in extinguishing pesticide-involved fires.

Physical hazards

– Risk of electrocution from electrical power lines, while spraying pesticides on agricultural fields;

– Exposure to direct and reflected ultraviolet (solar) radiation while working outdoors, possibly leading to erythema, skin cancer, cataracts and photokeratitis;

– Exposure to potentially health-detrimental climatic factors (resulting in effects ranging from temperature dis- comfort to heat stroke) while working outdoors.

Chemical hazards

– Severe intoxication (not acute) due to exposure to various pesticides that may result in disease, disability or death;

– Various skin effects (itching, erythema, blistering, irritation, sensitization, photosensitization, etc.) as a result of exposure to vapours, spray and gaseous forms of pesticides, especially through direct skin contact (e.g., blisters and itching from methyl bromide; erythema from synthetic pyrethroid; urticaria from diethyl fumarate, etc.);

– Contact and systemic dermatoses in pesticide workers, including gardeners and farmers, veterinarians, fruit and vegetable handlers (contacting pesticide residues), and especially from contact with organic phosphorous pesticides (OPP) and cyano pyrethroids;

– Chloracne and porphyria-cutana-tarda as a result of contact with chlorinated pesticides;

– Eye irritation in pesticide sprayers (e.g., while spraying OPP);

– Eye cataracts as a result of exposure to diquat dibromide;

– Corneal and conjunctival injuries caused by insect repellents;

– Mouth and throat irritation and burns (in sprayers);

– Ulcers of the mouth (in gardener sprayers engaged in diluting carbamates);

– Asphyxia caused by OPP and carbamates (in agricultural sprayers);

– Various pulmonary diseases, including lung oedema, pneumonitis, asthmatic reactions, alveolitis, pneumoconiosis (from pesticide dusting), etc.;

– Various gastrointestinal effects, including abdominal pains, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, giddiness, headaches, reduced and/or lost consciousness, seizures, coma, etc.;

– Nervous system disorders, including neurotoxicity, postural instability, neuropathy, neuro-behavioural effects, effects on cognitive functions, anxiety, insomnia, etc. (caused by exposure to pesticides, especially to OPP);

– Disorders of endocrine and reproductive systems, including infertility, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, sterility, congenital defects, embryo- and foetotoxicity effects, perinatal death, etc.;

– Effects on blood and circulatory system, caused by exposure to pesticides, especially to chlorinated hydrocarbons;

– Musculoskeletal and soft tissue problems in pesticide users;

– Other systemic effects caused by exposure to various pesticides;

– Carcinogenic effects, including cancer of bladder, brain, liver, lung, prostate, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, testicles, etc., malignant lymphomas, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, and numerous other forms of carcinogenic and mutagenic effects.

Biological hazards

Risk of being infected by zoonotic diseases transmitted by fleas or other insects during extermination work.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Back pains in hand-spray workers;

– Acute musculoskeletal injuries caused by physical overexertion and awkward posture while carrying and otherwise handling containers and heavy pieces of equipment;

– Tiredness and general ill feeling;

– Psychological stress resulting from the fears of potential overexposure to pesticides and of failing the compulsory periodical health check-ups;

– Development of lumbago caused by vibrations, inadequate vehicle suspension, uncomfortable seat, wet and/or humid working conditions, etc.


International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 1991. Occupational Exposures in Insecticide Application and Some Pesticides. IARC Monograph on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Vol. 53. Lyon: IARC.

International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS). 1995. International Safety Datasheets on Occupations. Steering Committee meeting, 9-10 March. Geneva: ILO. (Classified under “Laboratory Animal Raiser”.)

World Health Organization (WHO). 1990. Principles for the Toxicological Assessment of Pesticide Residues in Food. Environmental Health Criteria Series 104. Geneva: WHO.


List of common pesticides:

– Aldrin

– Aldicarb

– Amitrole

– Arsenic

– Atrazine

– Azinphos (methyl)

– Captan

– Carbaryl

– Chlordane

– Chloropicrin

– Chlorpyrifos

– Copper sulphate

– 2,4-D


– Diazinon

– Dichlorvos

– Dieldryn

– Diquat

– Endosulphan

– Endrin

– Ethion

– Ethylene dibromide

– Fenamiphos

– Fensulphothion

– Fenthion

– Fonophos

– Furfural

– Heptachlor

– Lindane

– Malathion

– Methyl bromide

– Mevinphos

– Paraquat

– Parathion

– Pentachlorophenol

– Permethrin

– Pyrethrum

– Rotenone

– Sodium fluoroacetate

– Systox (2,4,5-T)

– Temephos


– Thallium

– Thiram

– Warfarin


Synonyms: Installator; pipefitter; pipelayer; pipeline maintenance and repair worker

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Assembles, installs and repairs metal, plastic, ceramic and other pipes, fittings and fixtures of heating, water and drainage systems. Cuts openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and fittings, using hand- and power-tools. Cuts and threads pipe using pipecutters, cutting torch and pipe-threading machine. Bends pipe by hand or by using pipe-bending machine. Assembles and installs valves, pipes and fittings. Joins pipes by use of screw, bolts, fittings, adhesive, solder, braze and caulks joints. Installs and repairs plumbing fixtures such as sinks, commodes, bathtubs, hot water tanks, tank heaters, dishwashers, water softeners, garbage disposal units, etc. Opens clogged drains. Mends burst pipes. Replaces washers in leaky faucets. Secures pipes and fixtures with brackets, clamps and hangers; may weld holding fixtures to steel structural members. May operate equipment for locating leaks, test pipes and other plumbing fixtures for structural integrity, etc. May insulate piping or water tanks in hot-water or steam-supply systems.


Aligning; assembling; bending and straightening; boring; bracing; brazing; breaking (walls, floors); burning (old insulation or coatings); carrying (pipes, fixtures, equipment); caulking; cementing; chiselling; clamping; cleaning; coating (pipes); connecting; covering; cutting (pipes and fittings or opening in walls and floors); digging; dipping; ditching; dismantling; draining; drilling; driving; dumping; emptying; excavating; fastening; filing; filling; fitting; flame cutting; fixing; gluing; hammering; heating; immersing; installing, insulating; joining; jointing; laying; levelling; lifting; loading and unloading; locating (leaks, pipe position); loosening; marking and measuring; maintaining; mending; operating (tools); opening; painting; positioning; pouring (cements); pulling and pushing; pumping; repairing; replacing; rubbing; sanding; sawing; screwing; scrubbing; securing; sealing; setting; shovelling; siphoning; smoothing; soldering; spraying (coatings, paint); spreading (mortar); squeezing; taping; tapping; testing (for leaks); threading; tightening; transporting; trimming; welding; wrapping; wrenching.

Primary equipment used

Borers; chisels; drills; hammers; headlamps; leak-detecting instruments; pipe-bending machine; pipe-threading machine; pliers; saws; screw-drivers; shears; shovels; wrenches. Some of the tools may be battery- or mains-operated.

Industries in which this occupation is common

Agriculture; boilermaking and maintenance; chemical and related industries; construction (including building repair and maintenance); industrial equipment manufacturing; laboratories; municipal services; pipeline (including water, gas, oil, etc. supply lines) construction and maintenance; shipbuilding; water-heating equipment manufacturing; water desalination.


Accident hazards

– Falls from height (from ladders, scaffolds and roofs); falls into ditches;

– Falls on level surfaces (slips and falls on wet and slippery surfaces);

– Injuries (and possible asphyxiation) as a result of cave-in of ditches;

– Cuts, stabs, pinches, bruises and finger crushing from hand tools and machinery;

– Cuts and stabs from broken sanitary china;

– Blows on the head from pipes, overhead bars, corners, etc., in particular in confined spaces or in low-ceiling cellars and passages;

– Foreign particles in the eyes, in particular during drilling or insulation (dismantling work);

– Injuries to feet from falling tools or pipe sections;

– Burns from hot or corrosive liquids emitted from burst pipes or connections;

– Burns from portable blowtorches used for soldering and brazing;

– Electric shock and electrocution from portable lamps and electric tools;

– Fires and explosions as a result of using mobile electric lamps or tools in confined spaces (e.g., inside cisterns) containing combustible-gas residues;

– Drowning in accidental flooding of pumping stations (water, sewage);

– Sprains and damage to internal organs (e.g., hernia, bursting of small blood vessels) as a result of overexertion;

– Bites and stings by rodents, insects, mites, etc.;

– Poisoning by phosgene released from chlorinated solvents at high temperatures (e.g., in the presence of flames, arcs, burning cigarettes, etc.), particularly in confined spaces;

– Poisoning by toxic gases released in sewage systems (e.g., sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, indole, etc.).

Chemical hazards

– Contact dermatitis from exposure to various components of drainage and sewage liquids, from exposure to solvents and other components from glues and pipe cleaning fluids (especially when working with plastic piping);

– Irritation of the respiratory system and the eyes from exposure to acids, alkalis and various proprietary corrosive liquids used to unclog piping;

– Oxygen deficiency or exposure to asphyxiant gases when working in confined (e.g., crawl) spaces;

– Irritation of respiratory tract and possible damage to the lungs from exposure to asbestos, mineral fibres and other inorganic aerosols or fibres when applying or dismantling piping insulation or asbestos pipes.

Biological hazards

Exposure to a wide variety of micro-organisms, parasites, etc., in sewage, stagnant water (especially stagnant warm water), sanitary installations, etc., with risk of legionnaires’ disease, giardiasis, cutaneous Larra migrans dermatitis, etc.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Exposure to excessive damp, cold and heat (e.g., in cellars, or in construction, agriculture and other field work);

– Lower back pain;

– Heat stress when wearing vapour-barrier suits;

– Wrist problems due to overexertion in threading and cutting work; calluses on the knees (“plumber’s knee”) because of prolonged work in a kneeling posture.



1. Increased risks have been reported, in the case of plumbers, of leptospirosis; bronchial carcinoma; liver cirrhosis; lung cancer; cancer of the oesophagus; oral and oropharyngeal cancer; liver cancer; non-Hodgkins lymphoma; laryngeal cancer; pleural mesothelioma; cancer of the tongue; prostate cancer.

2. When working in laboratories, in the chemical industry, or in sewage systems, plumbers are exposed to all the chemical and biological hazards relevant for those workplaces. In welding, brazing or soldering operations, plumbers are exposed to all hazards of welders, solderers and brazers. In gluing work, plumbers are exposed to the hazards of gluers.


Synonyms: Sanitary inspector; sanitation inspector; sanitation supervisor; environmental technician; pollution-control technician (DOT). Also: public-health inspector; environmental-health inspector; environmental-quality inspector; environmental technician/engineering aid; registered/certified sanitarian

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Plans, develops and executes environmental health programme; organizes and conducts training programme in environmental health practices for schools and other groups; determines and sets health and sanitation standards and enforces regulations concerned with food processing and serving, collection and disposal of solid wastes, sewage treatment and disposal, plumbing, vector control, recreational areas, hospitals and other institutions, noise, ventilation, air pollution, radiation and other areas; confers with government, community, industrial, civil defence and private organizations to interpret and promote environmental health programmes; collaborates with other health personnel in epidemiological investigations and control. Advises civic and other officials in development of environmental health laws and regulations (DOT).

Related and specific occupations

Sanitary engineer; public-health engineer; environmental engineer; food and drug inspector; exterminator; mosquito sprayer (DOT).


Analysing; assembling and installing; burning (of garbage, etc.); calculating; catching (insects, rodents, etc.); checking; constructing; controlling; designing; determining (quantities, treatment techniques, etc.); developing; digging; disinfecting; disposing; disseminating (information); distributing (information or training material); driving; educating; enforcing; estimating (quantities); eradicating (pests); evaluating; examining; executing; exterminating; guiding; handling; improving (control techniques, etc.); inspecting; investigating; measuring; operating; planning; preventing; questioning; reporting; sampl- ing; sanitizing; spraying; supervising; surveying; testing; transferring; warning; witnessing.

Auxiliary tasks

Administering; advising; answering; applying; assisting; collaborating; collecting; compiling; computing; coordinating; discussing; filing; fixing; initiating; instructing; interpreting; lecturing; negotiating; organizing; participating (in committees, programmes, etc.); promoting; reviewing; scheduling; standardizing; teaching; training; writing.


Accident hazards

– Slips, trips and falls from ladders, stairs, elevated platforms, etc., during field visits of plants and throughout inspection operations;

– Falls into open pits and manholes while inspecting water and sewage systems;

– Acute poisoning by gases (e.g., sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide) during inspection and cleaning of sewage systems;

– Acute poisoning resulting from operation and handling of drinking water and swimming-pool chlorination and bromination equipment and containers;

– Acute poisoning caused by use of various pesticides (see Appendix) throughout pest control/extermination operations;

– Burns resulting from garbage-burning operations and from operating incinerators;

– Relatively high risk of being involved in road accidents as a result of extensive and frequent driving on badly kept roads and off-roads;

– Electrical shock resulting from work with mechanized and electrical field equipment;

– Fires and explosions caused by flammable and explosive substances (e.g., solvents, gasoline, etc.).

Physical hazards

– Exposure to excessive noise (relevant for sanitarians engaged in industrial hygiene, heating and ventilation systems and in inspection of “noisy” industries such as the heavy industries, the textile industry and printing);

– Exposure to ionizing radiation (relevant for sanitarians engaged in control and supervision of radioisotope usage, x-ray equipment and radioactive wastes);

– Exposure to non-ionizing radiation (e.g., in water sterilization by UV);

– Exposure to extreme climatic conditions while working in the field.

Chemical hazards

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to various toxic materials, such as pesticides (including insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, algicides, nematocides, etc.), their vapours and aerosols throughout extermination operations or disposal of containers with toxic pesticide residues;

– Contact with strong oxidants, especially chlorine compounds used for disinfection of drinking water and swimming pools;

– Toxic gases present in sewage systems or in industrial plants with inadequate ventilation systems;

– Dermatites and eczemas resulting from contact with various oils and solvents used for pest control, garbage- burning operations or other chemicals commonly used in sanitary laboratories.

Biological hazards

– Exposure to various micro-organisms while working with liquid or solid wastes;

– Bites and stings by various insects (e.g., bees, flies, fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitoes and wasps), snakes, scorpions, rodents, etc., during field and laboratory work;

– Risk of contracting infectious diseases while working in hospitals.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Physical and/or verbal assault while carrying out sanitary inspections of buildings, businesses, shops, etc.

– Attempts of those subjected to inspection to file unwarranted complaints which result in psychological stress, nervousness, etc.



Freedman, B. 1977. Sanitarian’s Handbook, 4th edition. New Orleans, LA: Peerless Publishing Co.

Last, JM and RB Wallace (eds.). 1992. Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 13th edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Tchobanoglous, G and FL Burton. 1991. Metcalf & Eddy Wastewater Engineering—Treatment, Disposal, and Reuse, 3rd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Principal chemicals to which sanitarians may be exposed:

– Acids

– Activated carbon

– Alcohols

– Aldrin

– Allethrin


– Asbestos

– Benzene hexachloride

– Bichloride of mercury

– Borax

– Boric acid

– Bromine

– Cadaverine

– Calcium cyanide

– Calcium hypochlorite

– Carbamates

– Carbolic acid

– Carbon monoxide

– Carbon disulphide

– Chloramines

– Chlordane

– Chlorinated hydrocarbons

– Chlorine

– Chlorine dioxide

– Copper sulfate

– Cresol

– Crude oil

– Cyanides



– Detergents

– Diatomaceous earth

– Diazinon

– Dieldrin

– Diesel oil

– Dioxin

– Dipterex

– Disinfectants

– Fluorides

– Fluorine

– Formaldehyde

– Fuel oils

– Fumigants

– Fungicides

– Heptachlor

– Herbicides

– Hexametaphosphate

– Hydrocyanic acid

– Hydrofluoric acid

– Hydrogen sulphide

– Indol

– Iodine

– Kerosene

– Larvicides

– Lime

– Lindane

– Malathion

– Methoxychlor

– Mineral acids

– Nitrates

– Nitric acid

– Organic acids

– Organic phosphates (polyphosphates)

– Orthotolidine

– Ozone

– Parathion

– Pesticides

– Phenol

– Pine oil

– Pival

– Potassium permanganate

– Pyrethrum

– Quaternary ammonium compounds

– Rodenticides

– Skatole

– Soaps

– Sulphur dioxide

– Sulphuric acid

– Warfarin

– Xylene

– Zeolites


Synonyms: Soldering equipment operator; hard-solderer; silver-solderer; brazer-assembler; brazier

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Joins metal parts by means of a fusible alloy (“solder” or “braze”; see Note 1). A solderer/brazer selects and sets up manual or automatic soldering equipment and materials according to work specifications. Examines and prepares parts to be joined by cleaning, degreasing (may use ultrasonic degreaser), brushing, filing and other means. Clamps workpieces into position for soldering. Switches on and controls electric current or gas-flame. Cleans soldering iron tip. Applies fluxes, soldering iron tip, torch or flame, solder wire, etc. to the workpieces. Examines soldered pieces for quality and adherence to specifications. Cleans surface of the soldered workpiece to remove flux and solder residues. May melt and separate soldered joints to repair or reuse parts.


Adjusting (flow, pressure, etc.); aligning; annealing; applying (fluxes); arc cutting; arc welding; assembling and disassembling; bending; bolting; bonding; brazing; brushing; calculating (current); clamping; cleaning (surfaces); connecting (hoses; cables); controlling; cutting; degreasing; dipping; examining (quality of joint); filing; filling; fixing; flame cutting; fusing; grinding; guiding (rod along the flame); hammering; handling; heat treating; heating and preheating; holding; igniting; installing; inserting; joining; knocking (welds); laying-out; lifting and lowering; loading and unloading; maintaining; marking; melting; mending; mounting; moving; placing; polishing; positioning; preparing; rebrazing; removing (residues); repairing; screwing and unscrewing; securing; selecting (tools, materials); separating; servicing; setting up; soldering; sprinkling; straightening; switching (on and off); timing (controls); tinning; torching; touching up.

Industries in which this occupation is common

Soldering and brazing, as full- or part-time occupations, are encountered in a very large number of manufacturing industries, workshops, technical services, research institutions, etc., such as, for example, all electrical and electronic manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and repair; air conditioning and refrigeration; manufacture of metal boxes, housings, storage tanks and containers; gas and chemicals supply lines; radiator manufacturing and repair (car and home-heating); jewellery manufacturing; artwork; tinker shops in research institutions; musical instruments manufacturing and repair; dental labouratories; many “cottage” industries, etc.


Accident hazards

– Blows, in particular on feet, from the fall of heavy workpieces, pipe sections, etc.;

– Cuts and stabs, in particular on the fingers, from sharp edges, protrusions, files (or other instruments) during the preparation of workpieces for soldering, and during the cleaning of the soldered product;

– Damage to eyes as a result of penetration of solid particles (particularly when using rotary wire brushes or abrasive wheels for cleaning), or molten metal, flux droplets, or droplets of cleaning solutions into the eyes;

– Electrocution or electric shock when using electrical soldering equipment;

– Skin burns from contact with hot surfaces, flames and splashes of hot solder or fluxes;

– Fires, as a result of ignition of flammable solvents and other substances, by the soldering flame or by sparks;

– Fire and explosions, particularly when using oxyacetylene, air-propane and other blow-torch processes;

– Chemical burns as a result of splashes of corrosive chemicals used in metal cleaning, in particular strong acids or mixtures of acids and oxidizing solutions (e.g., sulphuric/nitric or sulphuric/chromic acid mixtures), or metal-cleaning creams, etc.

– Acute (and sometimes fatal) poisoning by phosgene and other poisonous gases formed from chlorinated solvents in contact with a high-temperature source, in particular during brazing.

Physical hazards

– Exposure of eyes to strong light emitted during certain high-temperature brazing processes;

– Heat rashes as a result of continuous exposure of skin to heat from the soldering and brazing processes.

Chemical hazards

– Skin allergies as a result of exposure to solvents, to rosin (colophony), hydrazine, aminoethanolamines, and activators in fluxes;

– Ulceration (and other dermatological problems) of fingertips due to the handling of metal pieces and exposure to fluxes;

– Rashes and dermatitis, especially when using liquid fluxes;

– Irritation of eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract as a result of exposure to aerosols and gases evolved in acid-cleaning processes (e.g., nitrogen oxides);

– Irritation of eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract as a result of exposure to flux components or to their decomposition products released during the soldering (e.g., hydrochloric acid, zinc and ammonium chlorides), fluorides, formaldehyde (formed in the pyrolysis of core solder), fluoroborates, rosin, hydrazine salts, etc., or to ozone and nitrogen oxides formed in air during certain high-temperature brazing processes;

– Neurotoxic disturbances as a result of exposure to aliphatic, aromatic and chlorinated solvents used in metal cleaning;

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to a variety of poisonous metals present in the solder, most commonly lead, cadmium, zinc, antimony and indium (and in particular to their fumes released during the soldering) or exposure to poisonous metals in the dross and drippings from soldering operations;

– Adverse coronary effects as a result of chronic inhalation of small amounts of carbon monoxide in certain flame-soldering operations;

– Poisoning by substances released during the cleaning or soldering/brazing of painted workpieces (e.g., isocyanates).

Ergonomic and social factors

– Heat stress due to exposure to a hot environment;

– Fatigue and muscular pains due to repetitive work, especially when working overtime;

– Eye strain when working under inadequate illumination;

– Leg fatigue when working long hours in a standing posture.



1. The process is called “soldering” when the solder has a melting point below 426 °C, and “brazing” or “hard soldering” (different terms may be used in different countries) when the solder has a higher melting point. Manual soldering processes include electric-iron, gas-flame, torch, chemical-cartridge and gas-heated iron soldering, as well as dip tinning; automatic processes include dip-, flow-, wave- and spray-gun soldering.

2. According to published reports, solderers and brazers may be at increased risk of spontaneous abortions in the case of pregnant woman solderers; increased risk of bronchial asthma and hyperreactivity due to exposure to soldering fumes and gases, particularly to rosin (colophony) fumes and decomposition products, and to tetrafluorides.


National Safety Council (NSC). 1994. Soldering and Brazing. Datasheet 445-Rev-94. Washington, DC: NSC.


Synonym: Fusion welder

Job profile

Definition and/or description

Joins metal parts by various processes in which the surface layers of the metals are in most cases heated to fusion, with or without pressure; the main groups of welding processes are electric-arc (including metal-arc, inert-gas shielded arc, flux cored arc, plasma arc and submerged arc), gas-flame (including oxyacetylene, oxyhydrogen), resistance, electron-beam, induction, laser-beam, thermit, electroslag and solid-state (friction, explosion, diffusion, ultrasonic and cold) welding. Selects and sets up manual or automatic welding equipment and materials according to work specifi- cations or supervisor’s instructions. Examines and prepares surfaces to be joined by cleaning, degreasing, brushing, filing, grinding and other means. Positions workpieces. Adjusts valves or electric switches to control flow of gases, electric current, etc. Ignites or turns off gas-flame, electric arc, thermit mixture or other source of heat. Guides and applies flame, electrode, filler rod, laser-beam, etc. to the workpieces. Examines welded joint for quality or adherence to specifications.

Related and specific occupations

Thermal cutter (flame cutting, arc cutting, electron-beam cutting); weld surfacer; spark-erosion machine operator.


Adjusting (flow, pressure, etc.); aligning; annealing; applying (fluxes); arc cutting; arc welding; assembling and disassembling; bending; bolting; bonding; brazing; brushing; calculating (current); chipping (excess metal); clamping; cleaning (surfaces); connecting (hoses and cables); controlling; cutting; degreasing; dipping; dressing (electrodes); examining (quality of joint); filing; filling; fixing; flame cutting; fusing; grinding; guiding (rod along the flame); hammering; handling; heat treating; heating and preheating; holding; igniting; installing; inserting; joining; knocking (welds); laying-out; lifting and lowering; loading and unloading; maintaining; marking; melting; mending; mounting; moving; placing; polishing; positioning; preparing; rebrasing; removing (residues); repairing; scarfing (welds); screwing and unscrewing; securing; selecting (tools, materials); separating; servicing; setting up; soldering; sprinkling; straightening; switching (on and off); timing (controls); tinning; torching; touching up; weld-surfacing; welding.


Accident hazards

– Falls from height, particularly in construction work;

– Blows from falls of heavy metal parts, gas cylinders, etc.;

– Cuts and stabs from sharp metal edges, etc.;

– Burns from hot metal surfaces, flames, flying sparks, molten metal droplets, thermal radiation, etc.;

– Foreign particles into the eyes. This is a very common risk, and flying particles may enter the eyes even after the welding flame or arc is extinguished;

– Penetration of molten metal droplets or sparks into ears (particularly in overhead welding);

– Fires ignited by flying sparks, flames, red-hot metal etc. A special fire hazard exists when the surrounding atmosphere becomes enriched in oxygen; ignition becomes much easier (e.g., clothes may catch fire and lubricants and solvents are readily ignited);

– Dust explosions during welding in premises in which flour, grain dust, etc., are present;

– Injection of flying metal particles into the skin (face, neck and hands);

– Tyre explosions during welding of vehicle wheels;

– Ignition and explosion of hydrogen (produced by corrosion processes) and various residual combustible gases in mixtures with air in closed vessels;

– Acute poisoning by phosgene formed from chlorinated hydrocarbons which are used to clean the metal, or as paint, glue and other solvents, or by hazardous gases generated during welding, in particular ozone, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides;

– Electrocution or electric shocks in all processes using electric current; a particular hazard exists from transient overvoltages, or when using more than one power supply at the same time;

– Ignition of clothes in processes using gas-oxygen mixtures, if the surrounding air is enriched (“sweetened”) accidentally or intentionally with oxygen, in particular if clothes are soiled with oils or grease;

– Fires or explosions within the welding system (pipes, acetylene generator) in gas-oxygen flame-welding processes, in particular because of flame flashbacks or backfire due to faulty equipment or human error;

– Fires and explosions from improper handling of calcium carbide or acetylene in oxyacetylene welding;

– Trapping of clothing, fingers, hair, arms, etc., in automatic (“robotic”) welders.

Physical hazards

– Exposure to excessive noise levels;

– Exposure to excessive heat or cold, in particular in construction work;

– Exposure to x or gamma rays during weld inspection by radiography;

– Exposure to x rays from electron-beam welding machines;

– Chronic damage to eyes, skin drying and other skin problems (“heat rash”) as a result of exposure to strong actinic light (in particular UV) and heat. Such effects may be aggravated if good exhaust ventilation exists, since the screening effect of dust is eliminated by the ventilation.

Chemical hazards

– Exposure to welding fumes (see note 3);

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to zinc or cadmium in fumes when welding zinc- or cadmium-plated parts, or to polychlorinated biphenyls from the decomposition of anticorrosion oils, or to constituents of thermal decomposition products from paints during the welding of painted pieces, or to asbestos when flame-cutting asbestos-insulated pieces;

– Siderosis (a type of pneumoconiosis) as a result of inhalation of iron oxide;

– Damage to central nervous system, lungs and liver as a result of inhalation of phosphine (phosphine may be fumed during generation of acetylene from low-purity calcium carbide);

– Respiratory disease due to high concentration of carbon dioxide in the air and the related oxygen deficiency, particularly in closed, poorly ventilated places (this may be aggravated in the case of workers with cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases);

– Irritation of the eyes and the pulmonary system by nitrogen oxides and/or ozone;

– Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ergonomic and social factors

– Repetitive strain injury by static-load work;

– Musculoskeletal disturbances because of work in awkward postures;

– Eye strain and fatigue;

– Strenuous physical workload during lifting of heavy parts;

– Muscular stress and strain of hands, from the handling of heavy welding guns, in particular in overhead welding.



1. According to published reports, welders are at increased risk of pneumoconiosis (in particular siderosis), of cancer of several types (e.g., liver, nasal, sinonasal and stomach) and of possible hearing loss because of the combined effect of noise and exposure to carbon monoxide.

2. The shoulders and the neck of a welder may be heavily exposed to sparks and heat.

3. Exposure to welding fumes constitutes the major chemical hazard during welding by processes of most types. Such fumes are formed in the air upon cooling and condensation of substances volatilized by the heat of the welding process, from the base metals being welded, from electrodes, filler rods, fluxes, electrode coatings, etc. used in the process, as well as from “extraneous” materials such as metal or paint coatings on the base metal, residues of cleaning materials, etc. As a rule, the particle size of fumes is in the micron or submicron range, but such particles may coalesce and form larger aggregates. Most fume particles are in the “respirable” category, and may thus penetrate deep into the respiratory system and be deposited there. Welding fumes normally contain oxides of the metals being welded (in particular, in the case of steel, iron, chromium, nickel, manganese, vanadium and other oxides) and of the electrodes, silica, alumina, magnesia, alkali- and alkali-earth oxides (in particular baria) and may contain substantial amounts of fluorides, paint, oil and solvent residues or decomposition products. Fumes produced when using thoriated electrodes contain thorium oxide. In the welding of non-ferrous metals, the fumes may contain oxides of the metals being welded and small amounts of highly poisonous impurities such as arsenic and antimony compounds. The amount of fumes formed depends on the type of welding process, but may be as high as 2-3 g/min or even more (e.g., in manual arc welding or in welding with flux-cored electrodes).


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