Assessing the occupational risk of dust particles in the Kenyan tanning industry using rapid image processing and microscopy techniques

M Mwinyihija, K Killham, O Rotariu, A Meharg, N J C Strachan

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the occupational hazards within the tanning industry caused by contaminated dust. A qualitative assessment of the risk of human exposure to dust was made throughout a commercial Kenyan tannery. Using this information, high-risk points in the processing line were identified and dust sampling regimes developed. An optical set-up using microscopy and digital imaging techniques was used to determine dust particle numbers and size distributions. The results showed that chemical handling was the most hazardous (12 mg m(-3)). A Monte Carlo method was used to estimate the concentration of the dust in the air throughout the tannery during an 8 h working day. This showed that the high-risk area of the tannery was associated with mean concentrations of dust greater than the UK Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 2677. stipulated limits (exceeding 10 mg m(-3) (Inhalable dust limits) and 4 mg m(-3) (Respirable dust limits). This therefore has implications in terms of provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the tannery workers for the mitigation of occupational risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005



  • dust
  • particulate matter
  • occupational risk
  • image analysis
  • tannery
  • Monte Carlo
  • size distribution
  • microorganisms
  • capture
  • lead

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