Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 97-0154-2693, Siemens Energy and Automation, Inc., Distribution Products Division, Urbana, Ohio.
In March 1997, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) from the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) Local 1740. The request identified mouth sores, nose bleeds, blisters in the eyes, rashes, and throat irritation as potentially being associated with the manufacturing of circuit breaker cases in the plastic department at Siemens Energy and Automation plant in Urbana, Ohio. The material of concern was identified as a bulk molding compound containing styrene and vinyl toluene-based plastic resin. This request was followed by a similar management request in May 1997. NIOSH investigators performed an initial site visit at the Siemens facility on August 20-22, 1997. During the initial site visit, employee interviews were conducted, a questionnaire was administered to plastics department employees, the manufacturing process and work practices were observed, company records were reviewed, and air samples were collected for vinyl toluene, styrene, metals, particle characterization, and volatile organic compounds. Subsequent head space analysis of heated raw process materials revealed the presence of formaldehyde. A follow-up site visit was performed on January 15-16, 1998, to collect air samples for formaldehyde vapor, formaldehyde on dust, and inhalable dust.
National Inst. for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH. Div. of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies