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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-92-0004-2347, Fairmont General Hospital, Fairmont, West Virginia.
Buchta TM; Short S
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 92-0004-2347, 1993 Sep; :1-24
In response to a request from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union an investigation was begun into chemical exposures in the dietary and housekeeping departments at Fairmont General Hospital (SIC-8062), Fairmont, West Virginia. Specific concerns included exposures to chemicals in the Servicemaster cleaning supplies. Workers complained of dermatitis, allergic reactions and respiratory distress which were thought to be linked to these exposures. The facility was a 268 bed hospital with 822 employees, of which 97 worked in the housekeeping and dietary departments. Based on the results of spirometry testing, two individuals had cross shift decreases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second, suggesting a work related effect. In each case the abnormal findings were related to underlying abnormal lung function or asthma. Two employees had a history of chronic urticaria, four others had irritant dermatitis and five had contact dermatitis. One of these had contact dermatitis of the eye lids, while the other four had contact dermatitis related to the use of latex gloves. The authors conclude that a health hazard existed at the time of the survey. Use of inappropriate personal protective equipment and apparent failure to meet OSHA hazard communication requirements were noted. The authors recommend establishing a committee with the responsibility and authority to develop and implement a written health and safety program, including a comprehensive hazard communication program.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-92-0004-2347; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-3; Cleaning-compounds; Organic-solvents; Medical-facilities; Solvent-vapors; Air-quality-monitoring; Skin-exposure; Author Keywords: General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; dermatitis; respiratory problems; spirometry; belt spirometer; cleaning supplies; gloves
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