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Reduction of worker exposure during on-stream maintenance in a PVC plant.

Barley RC
Symposium proceedings: control technology in the plastics and resins industry. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-107, 1981 Jan; :68-75
Means to reduce worker exposure during on stream maintenance in a composite manufacturing facility for polyvinyl-chloride (9002862) (PVC) were described. Reactor cleaning procedures which were highlighted included changing out the double mechanical seal on a reactor agitator shaft and the replacement of rupture discs. Approaches included use of an agitator shaft, coupling, seal and gear assembly permitting support of the agitator from outside the reactor during seal replacement; the provision of cartridge type double seal design which could be removed in its entirety; and using complete disc assemblies. Other methods for reducing worker exposure included connecting equipment to an evacuation path; on stream flow totalizer calibration; hydraulic relief valves placed where trouble from trapped liquid could create thermal expansion problems; improved pinch valve design; the use of two incineration paths to allow for routine checking of on stream maintenance activities; and the effective maintenance of rotating shaft seals. Personnel practices effective in reducing the exposure of workers during on stream maintenance included an indoctrination providing all involved workers with information regarding regulatory and precautionary measures specific to working at the PVC facility where exposure must be reduced; demonstration of the NIOSH approved breathing air appurtenances; and following procedures and parameters established by NIOSH to ensure that breathing air qualifying under the D-quality requirements was available. The author concludes that the most important factor in reducing worker exposure during on stream maintenance is for major maintenance work to be performed when the facility is not on stream.
Worker-health; Industrial-hazards; Chemical-cleaning; Chlorinated-hydrocarbons; Industrial-hygiene; Occupational-exposure; Regulations; Industrial-safety
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Symposium proceedings: control technology in the plastics and resins industry
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division