A health hazard evaluation was conducted at Rohm and Haas Company (SIC-2869) in Houston, Texas, to determine acute hazards associated with nickel-carbonyl (12612554) vapor. Over the period of operation, 615 employees had worked in the process. At the time of the survey, 20 production workers and 25 maintenance personnel were employed. A chemical bubbler detector was used to determine nickel- carbonyl vapors. The bubblers used were capable of detecting concentrations of 1 to 7 parts per million vapor. Individual urinary samples were collected at daily or weekly intervals and evaluated for nickel (7440020) content. Urine monitoring was a more sensitive measure of nickel exposure than were acute symptoms or air monitoring. An infrared interferometer spectrometer was installed for the continuous detection of nickel-carbonyl at concentrations as low as 0.02 parts per billion. All equipment in the nickel-carbonyl synthesis units were housed in enclosures. Separate cells were provided for each process area, and each room was provided with a draft fan for a complete air change every 2 minutes; the fans discharged to a decontamination furnace operating at 900 degrees-F. Operating procedures and work practices were instituted for employee protection. They included facepiece air line respirators when working inside a cell, prompt repair of leaks, formal evacuation procedures, an absentee check system, log books, decontamination of clothing, personal protective equipment, process safety reviews, and job orientation courses for new employees. All known or suspected exposures were handled in accordance with procedures for nickel- carbonyl exposures. Preplacement and periodic examinations were provided for all employees.
NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 85 pages, 26 references