Each month we will update this page to highlight newly released final reports and information on new and emerging hazards we are evaluating. Check back often to see what we are up to!
Interim Report: Musculoskeletal Disorders and Traumatic Injuries Among Employees at a Poultry Processing Plant
NIOSH received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation at a poultry processing facility. Managers asked NIOSH to identify the potential for increases in musculoskeletal and upper extremity trauma due to the planned evisceration line speed increase. The request was required by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service to obtain an evisceration line speed waiver as part of the facility’s participation in the Salmonella Initiative Program.
NIOSH completed a baseline evaluation in advance of the line speed change. NIOSH investigators evaluated risk factors for traumatic injuries and collected related medical and personnel administrative information. NIOSH investigators also assessed 67 job tasks for ergonomic risk factors. Questionnaires were administered to 308 first-shift Fresh Plant employees and all 10 first-shift live hang contract workers. Participants were asked about work and medical history, symptoms, work conditions, and other factors known to be associated with hand/wrist musculoskeletal disorders and traumatic injuries. Nerve conduction tests were done on 284 first-shift Fresh Plant employees who had participated in the questionnaire. This was done to evaluate nerve damage in the hand and wrist. Forty-two percent of participants had evidence of carpal tunnel syndrome on the basis of our case definition. Forty-one percent of participants worked at jobs with high levels of hand activity and force. The risk of carpal tunnel syndrome increased with increasing exposure to the risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders.
A NIOSH Interim Report was mailed to the company and employee representatives with our findings and recommendations. A copy of the interim report can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/pdfs/2012-0125_Interim_Report_Final.pdf.
Evaluation of Dermatitis among Sanders in a Furniture Manufacturing Plant
HHE Program investigators evaluated sanding department exposures and rashes among employees at a furniture manufacturing company. Two sanders had severe skin reactions at work and were unable to continue working in the area. Employees plugged furniture screw holes with epoxy resin and reported using their fingers to mix the epoxy resins because of their thick consistency. A review of medical record for four employees revealed that one had been diagnosed with work-related allergic contact dermatitis after skin patch testing showed an allergic skin reaction to bisphenol A; the other three were diagnosed with contact dermatitis. A ventilation assessment determined that downdraft tables were ineffective in controlling dust while employees sanded large frames. HHE investigators recommended
- using a dispensing gun to apply the epoxy resins
- adding local exhaust ventilation to the hand-held sanders to control dust
- educating employees on the hazards of epoxy resin exposure and the need for work practices to prevent skin exposures to epoxy resins, including appropriate glove use.
To read the full report go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2011-0180-3193.pdf
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