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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-89-030-2198, Delco Remy, Olathe, Kansas.

Klein MK; Lee S
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 89-030-2198, 1992 Mar; :1-16
In response to a request from United Auto Workers Local 1021, a study was undertaken of possible hazardous working conditions at Delco Remy (SIC-3694), Olathe, Kansas. The facility produced lead acid batteries, primarily used in automobiles. Employees were reportedly suffering from headache, sore throat, dizziness, light headedness, eye irritation and stomach aches. Odors had been noticed coming from the ventilation system. Many of the air handling units at the facility had been changed from steam coil to direct fired heating just prior to the series of complaints. Air sampling did not detect any contaminants at levels above standards or recommendations. The paste department air handling unit burner was found to be rapidly cycling between low fire and high fire, resulting in a sour odor due to incomplete combustion of natural gas. Inspection of two of the air handling units indicated that proper maintenance procedures were not being followed. There was also a concern that on days where weather conditions were cool and dry there may be too low a relative humidity in the building for employee comfort. The authors conclude that the unidentified odor was being generated by the burner in the air handling unit serving the paste department. The relative humidity may be low during colder weather. The authors recommend that routine maintenance be conducted on all air handing units, the air supply system in the paste department should be refurbished, facility air should not be recirculated, and efforts should be made to decrease forklift truck exhaust.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-89-030-2198; Region-7; Hazard-Confirmed; Battery-manufacturing-industry; Combustion-products; Air-quality; Occupational-exposure; Ventilation-systems; Author Keywords: Electrical Equipment for Internal Combustion Engines; lead-acid batteries; carbon monoxide; carbon dioxide; nitric oxide; nitrogen dioxide; formaldehyde; hexane; pentane; relative humidity; maintenance; ventilation
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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