An industrial hygiene visit made to the vinyl-acetate (108054) production facility of the Celanese Chemical Company in Clear Lake City, Texas is reported. The manufacturing process is described and the general reaction and process flow are illustrated. Facility production of vinyl-acetate is approximately 350,000,000 pounds per year. Only 24 employees are involved in operation of the vinyl- acetate section of the facility, since this takes place in an enclosed system. Vinyl-acetate is shipped from the facility by truck, railroad, ship, or barge. Medical surveillance for employees is described. Annual or biannual physical examinations are provided for employees, frequency being dependent upon age. It is reported that there has never been a vinyl-acetate exposure at this facility which required medical follow up. Although no labels or warning signs specific to vinyl-acetate were observed, the entire factory is well marked against the dangers of smoking, which is not allowed except in designated areas. Personal protective equipment including first aid equipment is provided for workers. The 3 week training course provided for new employees is described and the course outline is appended. General work practices are reviewed. Since the process unit is enclosed there is little health hazard; the main hazards are safety related. Precautions taken to limit employee exposure to vinyl-acetate are noted. General sanitation precautions are also discussed. Environmental monitoring is conducted by gas chromatography to analyze airborne vinyl-acetate.
Criteria Document Development Branch, NIOSH, Rockville, Maryland