Health hazard evaluation report: HETA 98-0249-2773, Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina.
On June 3, 1998, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received two confidential requests for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. The requesters expressed concerns regarding (1) worker exposures to perchloroethylene (PERC) leaking from a dry-cleaning machine in the laundry/dry-cleaning area and (2) potential slips, falls, or electrical shock from a leaking ice machine. A site visit was conducted at the Grove Park Inn during September 2-3, 1998, to assess PERC exposures and to observe the use of the ice machine. The dry-cleaning facility at the inn contained a 10- year old machine with a refrigerated condenser to recover PERC. Inhalation exposures to PERC can cause central nervous system depression (producing symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, narcosis, uncoordination, headache, and unconsciousness, if exposures are sufficient). Direct contact with the liquid may impair the mucous membranes, eyes, and skin. Chronic exposure to PERC has been reported to cause liver damage, and peripheral neuropathy. NIOSH considers perchloroethylene to be an occupational carcinogen and recommends that exposures be reduced to the lowest feasible concentration. Personal breathing zone (PBZ) time-weighted average (TWA) exposures for PERC ranged from 0.17-5.8 parts per million (ppm) for the individual workers at this facility. The worker with the highest PERC exposure was the machine operator and lowest was the spotter. All airborne TWA concentrations were well below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 100 ppm and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) of 25 ppm. However, real-time measurements taken with a hand-held photoionization detector, calibrated for PERC, indicated high PERC peaks (greater than 2000 ppm, well over the maximum concentration of 300 ppm allowed by OSHA). Most of the peaks were recorded near the machine operator when the dry-cleaning machine door was open and garments were being added or removed from the machine. One peak was related to a small PERC spill resulting from a stuck machine valve. The ice machine of concern was in a service hallway. To obtain ice, a worker latched the machine's door open and used a large shovel to scoop ice into carts. Most of the water in the hall was due to ice spilling during this task. In-house staff had tried to correct this problem by placing a metal tray under the machine's door to collect spilled ice and placing a ribbed mat on the floor. The manufacturer of the machine recommends that a floor drain with a grate be recessed in the floor in front of the machine.
Region-4; Hazard-Confirmed; Falls-prevention; Hotel-dry-cleaning; Vapor-exposure; Ethylenes; Solvents; Employee-exposure; Vapors; Dry-cleaning-solvents; Dry-cleaning-industry; Cleaning-compounds; Laundering; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-shock; Machine-operation; Equipment-reliability; Central-nervous-system-disorders; Refrigerants; Refrigeration-equipment; Liver-damage; Carcinogens; Machine-operators; Air-sampling; Breathing-zone; Time-weighted-average-exposure; Permissible-concentration-limits; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits