Health hazard evaluation report, HETA-2000-0262-2833, Southern Supply & Manufacturing Company, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida.
In April 2000, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a management request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) at the Southern Supply & Manufacturing Company, Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida. Southern Supply & Manufacturing Co., Inc. manufactures shears, scissors, and thread nippers for the garment, textile, and other sewn products industries. The owner of Southern Supply & Manufacturing Co., Inc. was concerned about worker exposures to synthetic metalworking fluids (MWF) in the wet-grinding area of the facility. NIOSH investigators conducted a site visit on September 21-22, 2000. It included opening and closing conferences, worker interviews, and environmental monitoring. Personal breathing zone air samples of MWF were collected from all six grinders working during first shift. On an 8-hour time-weighted average basis, the exposures to the thoracic fraction of MWF aerosol ranged from 0.78 - 3.95 milligrams per cubic meter of air (mg/m3). The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit is 0.4 mg/m3, thoracic fraction. Each pair of grinders shares one mist collector, which is rated to draw 1200 cubic feet of air per minute. The inlets for these units were 12-18 inches behind the grinding surface. Wet-grinders' exposures to MWF were between 2 and 10 times the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit of 0.4 mg/m3, thoracic fraction. The local exhaust ventilation inlets are placed too far from the grinders to be effective. Recommendations are offered to reduce MWF exposures through improved enclosure and local exhaust ventilation.