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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-82-044-1284, Seth Thomas Division, General Time Corporation, Boscawen, New Hampshire.

Ellenbecker MJ; Wegman DH
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 82-044-1284, 1983 Mar; :1-18
In response to a request from five employees of the Seth Thomas Division of the General Time Corporation (SIC-3873), Boscawen, New Hampshire, a study was made of possible exposure to airborne wood dust, spray lacquers and wipe stains used during the manufacturing of grandfather clocks. Workers particularly affected were employed in the finishing area and the mill area. These individuals reported nausea, headaches, dizziness, and light headedness. Respirable dust concentrations ranged from 0.48 to 0.53 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). Total particulate concentrations ranged from 0.15 to 36mg/m3. The 36mg/m3 was a personal sample collected from a router who worked on a ventilated machine which did not appear to be effective at collecting larger wood particles. Seven personal solvent vapor samples were taken. All measured concentrations of hexane (110543), toluene (108883), methyl-isobutyl-ketone (108101), and xylene (1330207) were below evaluation criteria and OSHA standards. Even taking the health effects of all four solvents as additive, the individual doing lacquer sealing had the highest exposure level, which was still only 22 percent of the limits recommended by NIOSH. The authors conclude that there are potential overexposures to wood dust, and that solvent exposures at the varnishing operation may have exceeded those at other operations. The authors recommend that the local exhaust ventilation be upgraded at the router location. NIOSH approved respirators for wood dust should be available to all workers in the hand sanding room. The use of compressed air for cleaning work areas should be discouraged and a vacuum system used instead. Ventilation systems in spray booths should be upgraded and the booths themselves redesigned for better control of the spray particles. Periodic skin examinations should be performed.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-82-044-1284; Region-1; Hazard-Confirmed; Organic-solvents; Skin-exposure; Respirable-dust; Airborne-particles; Dust-control; Wood-dusts; Woodworkers; Author Keywords: Watches, Clocks, Clockwork Operated Devices, and Parts; wood dust; hexane; toluene; methyl isobutyl ketone; MIBK; xylene; local exhaust ventilation; solvents
110-54-3; 108-88-3; 108-10-1; 1330-20-7
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division