Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2001-0150-2917, IKI Manufacturing, Edgerton, Wisconsin.
On January 26, 2001, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received an employee request to conduct a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at IKI Manufacturing in Edgerton, Wisconsin. The requestor cited concerns regarding worker exposure to ethyl ether, methanol, and propylene glycol on a Heet® windshield de-icer filling line. Health concerns listed on the HHE request included headaches and dizziness. On October 21- 22, 2002, two NIOSH industrial hygienists visited IKI Manufacturing to conduct an industrial hygiene survey. NIOSH investigators first met with the IKI health and safety director, the production manager, and an employee representative to discuss the HHE request. Afterwards, the investigators toured the IKI facility, observed the de-icer filling line, and collected area air samples in the filling room and the water bath room for volatile organic compounds. Personal breathing zone (PBZ) samples were also collected on five workers on the de-icer filling line to assess employee exposure to toluene, heptane, trichloroethylene, ethyl ether, and total hydrocarbons. General area samples for ethyl ether were also collected in these locations. Results for toluene, heptane, trichloroethylene, total hydrocarbons, and ethyl ether indicated concentrations below evaluation criteria. Ambient levels of ethyl ether, measured using a Dräger(tm) pump with a colorimetric detector tube, were well below established occupational exposure limits for all samples. Exposures to toluene, heptane, trichloroethylene, and ethyl ether were well below established occupational exposure limits on the day of the survey. Administrative controls and safeguarding technology currently in place at IKI help to limit employee exposure to the Heet windshield de-icer fluid on the filling line. Recommendations to further reduce exposures and improve working conditions are presented in this report.