AIHce 2019: Q&A with Laura Hallett

Posted on Behalf of  Laura Hallett

Please read below for more information from Ms. Laura Hallet on her AIHce presentation.

1. What was the title of your presentation?  
Hazard Characterization of a Food Truck Work Environment

2. What was the scope of your research?
The objective of our research was to evaluate ambient concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), ultrafine particulate matter (UFPM), carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as temperature, relative humidity, and sound pressure levels at various locations inside and outside of a food truck. Food truck workers are posed with hazards similar to those found in full-scale commercial kitchens, but few regulations for food truck operators are specific to mitigating operators’ exposures to physical or chemical hazards. 

3. What did you find?
Potential hazards that we identified during the study included heat stress, walking and working surfaces, physical hazards, such as hot surfaces and sharp objects, and, to a lesser extent, carbon monoxide exposure from fuel sources. The temperature in the zone closest to the grill, reached a maximum of 124 °F (51.1 °C), which is well above the ACGIH Threshold Limit Values and the OSHA Action Limits for heat stress exposure, irrespective of metabolic work rate. We found that ultrafine particulate matter concentrations were 9- and 11-fold higher and carbon monoxide concentrations were 43- and 45-fold higher than the background concentrations in non-cooking and cooking zones, respectively. Although the geometric mean concentrations for both regions inside the truck were below applicable OELs, further investigation into CO concentrations present during different ventilation conditions may be warranted.

4. What are the next steps / what other research is needed?
Additional analysis will be performed to evaluate differences in potential worker exposures by day and within each shift. Future research on food trucks should be conducted to better characterize the performance of local exhaust ventilation systems that are retrofitted for use in food trucks.