WIT Press

Protection Of The Health And Safety Of Port Workers Exposed To Air Chemical Agents At Work


Free (open access)





Page Range

249 - 259




329 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


E. Vafaki & G. Palantzas


According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the principal health hazards that can arise from port operations are, among others, fumes, dust and exposure to hazardous air chemical substances. Such health hazards should be identified, the risks known and evaluated, the dangers to health understood and effective preventative measures put in place to ensure the health of the port workers concerned. Although this acknowledgement, over the last years many accidents keep occurring in port staff resulting from exposure to air pollutants. Particulate matters, benzol, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, heavy metals, dioxins, pesticides used to fumigate produce are almost common air pollutants meet in port facilities. The set up of a monitoring system on air pollutants concentrations and health effects in port areas has been mentioned by ILO as the crucial step towards the integrated management of these issues. The application of such a system by the port of Thessaloniki since 2003 and the production of representative long data and time series addressing air chemical agents presented in the port, indicate the complexity of the problem and the need of an integrated approach towards managing air pollutants. In this paper, the importance of an integrated protection from exposure to air pollutants at port work is mentioned, the main air chemical agents are presented in terms of their risk, a brief reference on legislative and regulatory framework on the issue is done and the main measures and actions for tackling the problem are outlined. Additional relevant data, measurements and practices coming from the port of Thessaloniki act as a case study, as the main aim of the paper is to be concerned by other port authorities, in terms of information, good practices and experience exchange. Keywords: port, workers, health and safety, air quality, chemical agents.


port, workers, health and safety, air quality, chemical agents