NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

In-depth survey report: evaluation of ventilation/filtration system for advanced flat sorter machine 100 at United States Postal Service, Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

Beamer BR; Topmiller JL; Crouch KG
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, EPHB 279-15a, 2002 Sep; :1-12
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted evaluations of a ventilation and filtration system (VFS) developed for the Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSM) 100. This system was installed by the machine's manufacturer to reduce the potential for employee exposure to harmful substances that could be contained in mailpieces processed by the machine. This effort is in response to recent terrorist attacks that used the mail as a delivery system for anthrax. NIOSH was asked to assist the United States Postal Service (USPS) in evaluating controls for this and other mail processing machinery. Evaluations of the contaminant capture capabilities of the system were based on a variety of tests including tracer gas experiments, air velocity measurements and smoke release observations and smoke clearance observations under hoods. The experiments showed that, overall, there is good capture by the ventilation system. Tracer gas tests indicated that the capture was essentially 100% between the Feeder Module and the bucket injection point underneath the Interface 950 module for Feed Stations 1,2, and 3. The ventilation system also exhibited good capture characteristics based on smoke release experiments and smoke clearance tests under hoods. Furthermore, air velocity measurements support these findings based on NIOSH criteria. It is, however, recommended that the USPS vent the VFS exhaust to the ambient air, outside of the plant, if at all possible. Furthermore, the filtration component of the system should be evaluated to determine filtration efficiency of the system. Also, NIOSH recommends that a plan of routine preventative maintenance be implemented to ensure proper function of the contaminant capture and filtration capabilities o fthe VFS.
Postal-employees; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-hoods; Ventilation-systems; Filtration; Engineering-controls; Environmental-contamination; Environmental-engineering; Environmental-exposure; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability; Exhaust-gases; Exhaust-hoods; Exhaust-systems; Exhaust-ventilation; Control-technology; Region-3; Air-flow; Air-quality; Biological-warfare; Biological-weapons; Disease-prevention; Machine-operation
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Control Technology
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches; Control Technology & Personal Protective Equipment
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division