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Evaluation of cut-resistant sleeves and possible fiberglass fiber shedding at a steel mill.

Authors
Ceballos-DM; Tapp-LC; Wiegand-DM
Source
J Occup Environ Hyg 2014 Feb; 11(2):D28-D33
NIOSHTIC No.
20043612
Abstract
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a health hazard evaluation (HHE) request from employees and union representatives at a steel mill. They were concerned with skin and upper respiratory irritation, and safety and hygiene issues regarding the required use of cut-resistant protective sleeves. The manufacturer of the cut-resistant sleeves reported that the sleeves were made of a blended weave of para-aramid (Kevlar), cellulose, and E-glass fibers. New sleeves were shown to emit very few fibers into the air under controlled use conditions. However, employees were concerned that the sleeves could shed respirable fiberglass fibers, that this shedding could increase after repeated launderings, and that this exposure could cause skin irritation, respiratory irritation, or chronic respiratory disease. During our evaluation, we met with union representatives and company health and safety managers, toured the facility, and confidentially interviewed employees. We collected surface samples using either Stick-to-it lift tape (SKC Inc., Eighty Four, Pa.) or vacuuming with a polycarbonate filter from work surfaces, workers' skin, and workers' clothing, including the surface of new and laundered protective sleeves. We also collected bulk samples of new and laundered protective sleeves and other potential sources of fibers at the steel mill (i.e., insulation materials). These samples were analyzed by stereomicroscope and polarized light microscopy for identification of fiberglass, Kevlar, and cellulose fibers, as well as for fiber morphology and size. This case study focuses on the industrial hygiene sampling component of our evaluation. Information regarding the medical interviews, and safety and hygiene issues related to the use of the sleeves can be found in the NIOSH HHE report. (2)
Keywords
Steel-industry; Steelworkers; Steel-foundries; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Fibrous-glass; Personal-protective-equipment; Skin-irritants; Protective-clothing; Respirable-dust; Sampling; Sampling-methods; Microscopic-analysis; Morphology; Case-studies; Cellulose-fibers
Contact
Diana M. Ceballos, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS R-11, Cincinnati, OH 45226
CODEN
JOEHA2
Publication Date
20140201
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
DCeballos@cdc.gov
Fiscal Year
2014
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
M012014
Issue of Publication
2
ISSN
1545-9624
NIOSH Division
DSHEFS
Priority Area
Services
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
State
OH
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