Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2002-0351-2903, Bechtel-Jacobs Co., LLC, Piketon, Ohio.
On July 26, 2002, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a joint management/union request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) to evaluate worker exposure to inorganic arsenic fume during torch-cutting of steel process equipment in the X-747H scrap yard at U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC). The facility, located in Piketon, Ohio, formerly operated a gaseous diffusion process for uranium enrichment. The HHE request was submitted after routine air sampling and urinalysis indicated excessive worker exposure to arsenic. On October 29, 2002, NIOSH investigators conducted an opening conference with labor and management officials and collected surface wipe samples to identify sources of arsenic contamination. Objects/areas sampled included table top/seating surfaces, coveralls, overshoe covers, respirators, and a welder apron and glove. Arsenic sample values ranged from non-detectable (ND) up to 16 micrograms (ug)/wipe sample. The highest value was obtained from the outside face piece of a freshly "cleaned" respirator stored in a sealed plastic bag. Arsenic sample results and interim recommendations were distributed in a letter to management and labor officials on December 11, 2002. Upon inspection of the local exhaust ventilation used for fume control, a number of deficiencies were identified. We also observed that the standard operating procedures for respirator use were not strictly adhered to. A potential health hazard was identified from respiratory, dermal, and ingestion exposure to arsenic. Recommendations include continued airborne and urine monitoring for arsenic, a quantitative evaluation of the respirator cleaning procedure, strict adherence to the respiratory protection program, and improved local exhaust ventilation.
Air-sampling; Arsenic-compounds; Steelworkers; Welding; Fumes; Cutting-tools; Uranium-compounds; Urinalysis; Industrial-processes; Industrial-gases; Industrial-ventilation; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems; Sampling; Exhaust-ventilation; Exposure-levels; Region-5; Respirators; Hazard-Confirmed; Heavy-metals