Possible occupational hazards existing at a steel production facility which produced a broad range of flat rolled steel in its 700 acre facility were investigated. Specific operations of concern were the electrogalvanizing lines and the ladle refinery areas. Measurements of workers' exposure to the electromagnetic fields produced at both operations were performed during the first two shifts on two separate days in both a walk around mode (area measurements) and in a personal dosimetry mode. NIOSH investigators indicated that a potential health hazard existed at the time of the evaluation and at the electrogalvanizing lines when workers were located less than 5 feet from the unit. They recommended that the company consider purchasing appropriate extremely low frequency (ELF) monitoring instrumentation to evaluate occupational exposures to electric and magnetic fields that can occur at the facility. Workers at the electrogalvanizing units should work at distances that produce very low frequency field levels less than the occupational standard, currently estimated to be a distance of about 5 feet. The company should consider minimizing existing unnecessary occupational ELF exposure levels around the ladle refinery control room by relocating either the present transformer or control room. Workers should be trained as to the nature and levels of electric and magnetic fields that can be found at various areas within the facility and encouraged to use this information to further reduce their personal exposures.
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