Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2000-0134-2847, SFO International Terminal, San Francisco, California.
On January 31, 2000, NIOSH received a confidential request for a Hazard Evaluation (per 40 CFR Part 85) at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) International Terminal. This airport terminal was then under construction and, according to the requestor, several trades had been routinely and repeatedly exposed to dusts containing fireproofing material and dusts containing epoxy resin, resulting in various respiratory complaints (e.g., irritation, sinus and ear infections, breathing difficulties, flu-like conditions) as well as bloody noses, headaches, and skin rashes. Numerous workers had reported to the on-site health clinic with these complaints, while others obtained medical assistance from private or other medical services. The primary exposure was to the dust generated when removing fireproofing and during the cleanup by dry sweeping of accumulated fireproofing materials. Because the primary dust generating activities occurred during 1998 and 1999, the NIOSH response was confined to the following: evaluation of the Material Safety Data Sheets for the fireproofing materials; analysis of several bulk samples of fireproofing materials; a review of the various exposure surveys conducted by Cal-OSHA, the contractor, and SFO; discussions and interviews with those involved; analysis of a brief survey form sent to roughly two dozen current and former workers. After consideration of the (a) the MSDS's for the Cafco and Monokote fireproofing, (b) the previous company and Cal-OSHA surveys, (c) review of the various documents (e.g., work practice guidelines) submitted, and (d) discussions with numerous employees and review of the information forms provided by employees, we conclude that it is likely that dusts resulting from fireproofing materials present more risk to exposed employees that would be expected from substances that truly are "inert or nuisance dusts". Exposures to each individual worker, construction worker (regardless of occupation or subcontractor) or air-port maintenance employee, should be minimized or eliminated through some effective combination of work practices, worker and employer training, work practices, and feasible engineering controls (e.g., wet removal and cleanup, use of dust suppression cleanup materials, vacuum removal at time of removal). If exposures -both full-shift and within-shift peak exposures - are not reliably controlled by the above means, then the employer should provide and require respiratory and other personal protection.
Hazards-Confirmed; Region-9; Dusts; Dust-particles; Dust-suppression; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Construction-workers; Construction-materials; Insulation-materials; Insulation-workers; Particulates; Particulate-dust; Fire-resistant-materials; Fire-proofing