19 Mar 2015

Risk assessment for emissions from hot heavy fuel oil during barge loading

Report no. 1/15R: A series of emissions, occupational exposures, and mutagenic hazard studies were conducted to assess the risk associated with the loading of commercial Heavy Fuel Oils onto barges on the inland waterways. This report summarises the results from the laboratory investigations, exposure monitoring studies, and mathematical modelling exercise aimed at documenting the potential inhalation exposure, fractional release and intrinsic hazards of HFO vapours and aerosols under barge loading conditions.
Analytical methodologies were developed to quantify HFO vapour and aerosol air concentrations, and an industrial hygiene assessment and worker exposure monitoring were conducted during actual loading operations. The results indicated that during the loading of hot commercial HFO on inland waterway barges:
  • The emissions resulted in low workplace exposures, well below limit values set by the American Conference of Governmental lndustrial Hygienists
  • There was no release of detectable amounts of benzo(a)pyrene
  • There was no mutagenic risk to workers based on the mutagenicity assays conducted on fume condensates generated under similar operating conditions which was corroborated with low total concentrations of aromatic compounds and low overall fluorescence in the fumes
  • There was no substantial contribution to air emissions relative to other types of petroleum hydrocarbon cargos.
Therefore, based on these findings, the risk for workers handling commercial grade HFOs, as well as the environmental risks, during a barge loading operation on inland waterways do not pose a health concern. These studies did not indicate a need for additional control measures on the emissions of hot HFOs during barge loading beyond normal good operational industrial hygiene practices.
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