The impact of maintenance and design for ventilation systems.
Estill-CF; Watkins-DS; Hall-RM; O'Brien-DM; Shulman-SA
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2002 May; 17(5):344-351
Ventilation systems need to be designed to include access for cleaning and preventive maintenance. Without such access, the exhaust volume will deteriorate. Because of access difficulties and the many demands on their time, plant managers are sometimes errant in performing proper preventive maintenance. Three surveys measuring workers' exposures to methylene chloride were conducted at the same furniture stripping facility. A new ventilation system was installed for the first survey, resulting in an exhaust volume of 2900 cfm and worker exposure to methylene chloride of 59 ppm (geometric mean). Immediately after the first survey, the gasoline-powered fan was replaced by a smaller capacity electrically powered fan. Deterioration in the ventilation system was seen after seven years. Problems included clogged slots, paint chips and sawdust deposits in plenums, and a loose and frayed fan belt. The second survey indicated a reduction in exhaust volume to 1060 cfm and increased worker exposure to 330 ppm. With the smaller capacity fan still in place, the system was otherwise upgraded to allow for easier access and maintenance was performed. The third survey showed that the ventilation system performance was better (exhaust volume improved to 2080 cfm) and the worker exposures were reduced to 73 ppm. This study shows the benefits of designing for preventive maintenance and the necessity of keeping the ventilation systems clean.
Chlorides; Furniture-industry; Ventilation-systems; Engineering; Workers; Exposure-levels
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene