Objectives: To design a method that uses preliminary hazard mapping data to optimize the number and location of sensors within a network for a long-term assessment of occupational concentrations, while preserving temporal variability, accuracy, and precision of predicted hazards. Methods: Particle number concentrations (PNCs) and respirable mass concentrations (RMCs) were measured with direct-reading instruments in a large heavy-vehicle manufacturing facility at 80–82 locations during 7 mapping events, stratified by day and season. Using kriged hazard mapping, a statistical approach identified optimal orders for removing locations to capture temporal variability and high prediction precision of PNC and RMC concentrations. We compared optimal-removal, random-removal, and least-optimal-removal orders to bound prediction performance. Results: The temporal variability of PNC was found to be higher than RMC with low correlation between the two particulate metrics (ρ = 0.30). Optimal-removal orders resulted in more accurate PNC kriged estimates (root mean square error [RMSE] = 49.2) at sample locations compared with random-removal order (RMSE = 55.7). For estimates at locations having concentrations in the upper 10th percentile, the optimal-removal order preserved average estimated concentrations better than random- or least-optimal-removal orders (P < 0.01). However, estimated average concentrations using an optimal-removal were not statistically different than random-removal when averaged over the entire facility. No statistical difference was observed for optimal- and random-removal methods for RMCs that were less variable in time and space than PNCs. Conclusions: Optimized removal performed better than random-removal in preserving high temporal variability and accuracy of hazard map for PNC, but not for the more spatially homogeneous RMC.These results can be used to reduce the number of locations used in a network of static sensors for long-term monitoring of hazards in the workplace, without sacrificing prediction performance.
- Hazard mapping
- Particulate matter