Hazards associated with the men's apparel industry were surveyed on October 21, 1974, at Horace Small Manufacturing Company (SIC-2311) in Nashville, Tennessee. The company employed 460 sewers, 30 cutters, and 15 to 20 pressers. No formal medical or safety programs existed, however a first air room was available and some workers were trained in first aid procedures. Materials used at the company included wool, and wool blends with rayon, polyester, orlon and cotton. General ventilation was provided by a central air conditioning system. No aerosols or solvents were used. No needle guards were used on the sewing machines. Noise levels ranged from 70 to 91 decibels, and illumination levels were 80 to 300 foot candles. Dust concentrations were 0.39 to 1.1 milligrams per cubic meter, well below the OSHA standard of 15 milligrams per cubic meter. Fire protection was provided by a general sprinkler system. One case of dermatitis, three cases of lacerations, seven cases of needle punctures, one case of burns and one case of a crushed finger were found in the OSHA injury and illness log. The author recommends measurement of formaldehyde concentrations, audio dosimetry studies, and characterization of airborne dust and lint. Health and safety committees should be established.
Environmental Investigations Branch, Division of Field Studies and Clinical Investigations, NIOSH, 5 pages