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!
Sensitization and Exposure to Flour Dust, Spices, and Other Ingredients among Poultry Breading Workers
HHE investigators evaluated employees’ exposures to breading dust containing flour, spices, and other ingredients at a poultry breading plant. Air sampling results indicated that most inhalable flour dust exposures were above the threshold limit value of 0.5 milligrams per cubic meter. Exposure to flour, uncooked breaded product, and other ingredients was associated with sensitization to flour dust and wheat. Investigators recommended that the employer
- Use an enclosed system to transfer powdered ingredients to the dispensing hoppers
- Use local exhaust ventilation to lower flour dust levels
- Use the threshold limit value for flour dust rather than the permissible exposure limit for particulates not otherwise regulated to best protect employees’ health
To read the full report go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2009-0131-3171.pdf.
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.
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