Workers' exposure to dust and potentially toxic elements during steel cutting in two ship dismantling cases

Sefer Anil Gunbeyaz, Eva Giagloglou, Rafet Emek Kurt, Karin Garmer Rogge, Stuart A. McKenna, Osman Turan, Richard Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Ship dismantling is the recommended recycling solution for the end of a ship’s life, but the process is not free of occupational risk. Despite proper regulations, there are underlying chemical and physical hazards, mainly due to the cutting of steel parts, which is the core of the recycling process. The overall aim of this research study is to determine, in two case study examples, the ship recycling workers’ potential occupational exposure by inhalation of chemical agents generated by the torch cutting process of coated and de-coated steel. This was carried out specifically through (i) monitoring and measuring ship recycling workers’ local environment for the inhalable (total dust) and respirable (fine dust) fractions during their working operations, (ii) analysing the heavy metal content of the dust and (iii) calculating and comparing this against occupational exposure limits, (v) comparing de-coating operations with cutting of coated and de-coated steel. Results of this study show that without further mitigation workers involved in torch cutting processes are at high risk of exposure to heavy metals by inhalation as these are exceeding the norms defined by regulatory bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113628
Number of pages8
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date14 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2023


  • ship recycling
  • dismantling
  • torch cutting
  • emissions
  • cutting fumes


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