Men's Apparel Industrywide Study at Imperial Reading Corporation Subsidiary of Northwest Industries, Inc., Piney Flats, Tennessee.
Raw materials, equipment, manufacturing methods and work practices were surveyed to identify possible health hazards at the Imperial Reading Corporation (SIC-5611) in Piney Flats, Tennessee, on October 23, 1974. The facility was surveyed as part of a NIOSH study of the men's apparel industry. Approximately 350 people were employed at the facility. The facility had one daily shift. No formal medical or industrial hygiene programs or health units were provided. New employees were not required to take pre-employment medical examinations, but vision examinations were given. Sixteen of 18 occupational injuries that occurred in 1974 were caused by needle punctures. A formal safety committee was established. Personal protective devices were required in the maintenance shop. Fabric was marked, cut, and sewn. The garments were then inspected, packaged and shipped. Cotton and cotton blend materials were used. All needles and some drive belts had guards. Bar tacking and button sewing machines had plastic eye shields. Workers complained of vision problems when using these shields. Air conditioning provided general ventilation. Noise levels varied from 72 to 92 decibels on the slow response A scale in the fell side and inseam, and zipper slides areas, respectively. Light measurements were 100, 70, and 250 footcandles for the cutting rooms, general sewing area and auxiliary illuminations, respectively. Dust concentrations ranged from 0.56 to 2.3 milligrams per cubic meter in the cutter and hem front operation, respectively. Some areas exceeded proposed OSHA noise standards. Dust samples were below the OSHA dust standards.
NIOSH, Division of Field Studies and Clinical Investigations, Environmental Investigations Branch, 9 pages