Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-2000-0356-2851, Campbell Hausfeld, Harrison, Ohio.
In July 2000, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a management request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at Campbell Hausfeld in Harrison, Ohio, a producer of air compressors. This HHE request concerned several employees from the machining and assembly areas who had been reporting skin problems to management in the months prior to the request. The company had consulted an occupational dermatologist to evaluate the rashes and to determine their cause. Campbell Hausfeld followed the dermatologist's recommendations, but some workers continued experiencing rashes. NIOSH investigators conducted an initial site visit on August 31, 2000. Based on the general area (GA) particulate sampling results in the machining area, a more thorough air sampling survey was done on January 8-12, 2001. During the first site visit, the NIOSH medical officer interviewed 12 employees, 5 of whom had a skin rash at the time of the interviews. Of the five with current rashes, two were assemblers, two were machinists, and one was an office worker. Two had a rash on their hands that appeared to be dyshydrotic eczema; two (both assemblers) had a rash on the forearms consistent with dermatitis, but it could not be determined if it was work-related; and one had folliculitis, which occurred on areas of skin not in contact with metal-working fluid (MWF), as well as on areas that may have contact with MWF. Review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 200 Injury and Illness logs revealed 15 separate cases of dermatitis since 1995; 9 in machinists, 2 in product services, and 4 in assemblers. Over both site visits, the NIOSH industrial hygienists collected bulk fluid samples for microbial analysis, GA and personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples for total particulate, thoracic particulate, and extractable MWF analysis, real-time particulate concentration, count, and size data, and PBZ samples for volatile organic compound (VOC) analysis. The microbial sampling did not reveal anything unusual for MWF environments, and the VOC sampling results were all below relevant criteria except for the paint-booth employee who wore a respirator. Over half of the MWF particulate sample concentrations were above the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 0.5 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) total mass or 0.4 mg/m3 thoracic mass, for up to a 10-hour time-weighted average. The real-time data suggest that a large percentage of the particle mass concentration was in the respirable range. NIOSH investigators concluded that a health hazard from exposure to MWF exists at Campbell Hausfeld and recommended that exposures be reduced and a comprehensive MWF safety and health program be developed and implemented. The program should include training, exposure assessment, hazard control, and medical monitoring. MWFs are known to cause irritant contact dermatitis and may cause allergic contact dermatitis. While it is unlikely that there is one single cause of the various rashes experienced by employees, work-related exacerbations of skin problems could be minimized by limiting skin contact with the MWFs, washer detergents, and rust inhibitors. MWFs are also known to cause respiratory irritation and decrease lung function. Engineering controls such as dilution ventilation, enclosures, and local exhaust ventilation are needed to reduce the MWF exposures.