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Evaluation of metal and carbon monoxide exposures during steel slab cutting and slitting.

Burr-G; Eisenberg-J; Jang-S
J Occup Environ Hyg 2013 May; 10(5):D57-D61
Employees working at the caster/slitter at this steel mill were not exposed to minerals, metals, or carbon monoxide above OELs on the days of this HHE. However, the black nasal secretions and phlegm reported by employees are likely due to nonrespirable iron oxide particulate trapped in the nose and upper airways. Engineering and administrative controls and the voluntary use of respirators may further reduce particulate exposures to caster/slitter employees. RECOMMENDATIONS: We made the following recommendations to the steel mill that may be helpful to others. Engineering Controls: 1. Seal gaps in the mill-side and load-side crane cab enclosures. 2. Evaluate the air intake and exhaust for the crane cab enclosures to determine if they are correctly installed and functioning properly. 3. Evaluate the fit and effectiveness of the air filter installed in both the load-side and mill-side crane cab enclosures. 4. Evaluate the ventilation system for the pipe fitter breakroom in the caster/slitter area. This room remained under negative pressure in relation to the surrounding production area despite the addition of air ducted from outside the building. Administrative Controls: 1. Encourage the cut-off and slitter operators to perform as much of their work as possible within their respective control rooms. 2. Encourage shippers to conduct as much of their work as possible inside their room. 3. Encourage employees to report work-related health problems to the steel mill's occupational health clinic. Reporting maintenance issues to the employer should not occur in place of appropriate medical assessments. 4. Implement a smoking cessation program because smoking can have many adverse health effects. Additional information on smoking cessation programs can be obtained by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or from the NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin 54, Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace available at Personal Protective Equipment: 1. Encourage the proper wearing of voluntary use respirators. 2. Encourage employees who wear respirators voluntarily to be clean shaven in the area of the face seal and to replace their respirator when it is visibly clogged or becomes difficult to breathe through.
Steel-industry; Steel-foundries; Metallic-dusts; Metal-industry; Metal-industry-workers; Metal-fumes; Metal-dusts; Metal-refining; Work-practices; Workplace-studies; Dusts; Dust-particles; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Iron-oxides; Respiratory-irritants; Eye-irritants; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems; Author Keywords: Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturing; steel mill; dust; fume; metal; iron oxide; carbon monoxide; ventilation; bloody nose; HETA 2008-0091-3118
1345-25-1; 7440-50-8; 7439-96-5; 7439-98-7; 7440-02-0; 630-08-0
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Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene