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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-82-107-1444, Torrington Company, Torrington, Connecticut.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 82-107-1444, 1984 May; :1-27
An outbreak of dermatitis among workers at the Torrington Company (SIC-3443) in Torrington, Connecticut was investigated in April 1981 and January, May, and September 1982. The evaluation was requested by the United Auto Workers Local Union on behalf of about 85 grinding operations workers. Work procedures, conditions, and processes were observed. Workers were questioned about health effects, examined for the presence of skin lesions, and given patch tests with various chemicals used in the workplace. Grinding machines did not have splash guards, and dirty rags left on the machines allowed for skin contact with metal working fluid. Protective gear was used little or not at all, and there were no standard procedures for removing fluid from the skin. No hazard warning signs were posted identifying skin irritation hazards of the fluids. Thirty one of 49 grinding department workers reported itching and burning skin on the hands, and 18 had signs of advanced skin disease. Two of 10 workers with severe dermatitis had strong positive reactions to patch tests with formaldehyde (50000) which could be released by some of the chemicals used. The authors conclude that a dermatitis hazard exists at this facility from coolant fluids used in grinding operations. They recommend industrial hygiene improvements regarding the machinery, protective clothing, production schedules, personal hygiene, and worker education. Preemployment and periodic medical evaluations, including assessment of skin problems, should be provided to all workers.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Confirmed; Automotive-industry; Region-1; Occupational-dermatitis; Work-practices; Industrial-processes; Patch-tests; Grinding-equipment; Cutting-oils; HETA-82-107-1444; Author Keywords: Fabricated Plate Work - Boiler Shops; Grinding Operations; Coolant Fluids; Dermatitis; Contact Dermatitis; Formaldehyde; Biocides
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division