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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-80-086-1191, Harbison-Walker Refractories, Fairfield, Alabama, Bessemer, Alabama.

Salisbury SA; Melius JM
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 80-086-1191, 1982 Sep; :1-20
In response to a request from the Sub District Director of the Thirty Sixth District of the United Steelworkers of America, an evaluation was made of possible hazardous conditions at the Harbison- Walker Refractories (SIC-3255) facilities, located in Fairfield and Bessemer, Alabama. Refractory bricks for use by the steel industry were manufactured at these locations. Airborne dusts were examined for aluminum-oxide (1344281) and free silica (7631869) contents. Personal and general area air samples were taken. The results at the Fairfield facility were as follows: total dust concentrations ranged from 0.22 to 2.92 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3); aluminum-oxide concentrations, 0.1 to 0.7mg/m3; respirable dust levels, 0.04 to 0.87mg/m3; and respirable free silica, 4.2 to 91 micrograms/cubic meter (microg/m3). At the Bessemer facility the following conditions existed: total dust concentrations ranged from 1.47 to 50.63mg/m3; aluminum-oxide, 0.1 to 7.9mg/m3; and respirable dust exposures, 0.1 to 9.04mg/m3. Respirable free silica may have exceeded recommended exposure limits for two workers: the worker stacking castables, about 77microg/m3, and the larry car operator, about 143microg/m3. The workers were suffering from many respiratory complaints caused by irritation of the respiratory membranes. No indication of silicosis or other definitely work related respiratory diseases were identified on x-ray or pulmonary function tests. The authors conclude that the larry car operator and workers packaging refractory castables at the Bessemer facility were overexposed to dust and aluminum-oxide. The authors recommend that dusty conditions at Bessemer be cleaned up, and that the dust control systems be repaired. The occurrence of oil acne due to exposure to the oil which coats the freshly formed bricks can be lessened through the use of barrier creams and conscientious personal hygiene. Better coordination is suggested for the medical screening program to insure adequate follow up of workers with abnormalities.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-80-086-1191; Region-4; Hazard-Confirmed; Skin-exposure; Oil-dermatitis; Dust-inhalation; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Refractories; Silica-dusts; Aluminum-compounds; Author Keywords: Clay Refractories; refractory brick; bauxite; silica; aluminum oxide; nuisance dusts; silicosis
1344-28-1; 7631-86-9
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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