Men's Apparel Industrywide Study at Ralph Edwards Sportwear, Inc., Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Raw materials, equipment, manufacturing methods and work practices were investigated to identify possible health hazards at Ralph Edwards Sportswear, Incorporated (SIC-2386) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on August 16, 1974. This company was included in the initial phase of a NIOSH survey of the men's apparel industry. The facility employed about 250 people. No formal medical, industrial hygiene or safety program was available. The company arranged for a nearby clinic to provide emergency first aid. One employee, who had formal first aid training, was designated to provide emergency first aid. Unscheduled absenteeism ranged from 10 to 15 percent. No industrial hygienist or consultative services were provided. The manufacturing process included making markers, cutting the fabric and sewing and finishing the garment. Materials used were cattle, sheep, goat and pig hides, cotton and cotton blends, denims, and permanent press fabrics. The facility had a general sprinkler system. No needle guards were provided on the sewing machines but felt guards were provided. Plastic shields were used on bar tackers and snap machines. Many flies were found in the basement of the facility. Air conditioning units provided general ventilation and no local exhaust systems were used. Noise levels ranged from 68 to 93 decibels on the slow response A scale in the general sewing areas and at a button hole machine, respectively. Light measurements ranged from 70 to 400 foot-candles over the general sewing table and in the leather shading areas, respectively. Dust concentrations on a manager and cutter were 0.4 and 0.6 milligrams per square meter, respectively. The author concludes that potential health hazards exist from insecticides that are routinely sprayed into the facility automatically, from noise exposure, and from airborne dust.
NIOSH, Division of Field Studies and Clinical Investigations, Environmental Investigations Branch, Cincinnati, Ohio, 4 pages