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In-depth survey report: evaluation of the ventilation and filtration system and biohazard detection system for the automated facer canceller system at United States Postal Service, Cleveland Processing and Distribution Center, Cleveland, Ohio.

Beamer B; 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 279-18a, 2004 Jan; :1-22
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted an evaluation of capture efficiencies for the Biohazard Detection System (BDS) for the United States Postal Service (USPS). The BDS was developed for use on the ventilation system of the USPS mail processing equipment - the Automated Facer Canceller System (AFCS). The BDS samples and analyzes air from the AFCS to determine if a biohazard is present. This effort is in response to terrorist attacks in the Fall of 2001 that used the mail to deliver B. anthracis spores. NIOSH was asked to assist the USPS in evaluating controls for this and other mail processing equipment. Evaluations were based on a variety of tests that involved tracer gas experiments, air velocity measurements, and smoke release observations. The experiments showed that the capture efficiency of the BDS under the hood was highly effective under the most probable real-life scenario - when orifice "A", an airflow-restricting device installed near sensors of the AFCS singulator, was used with the Ventilation and Filtration System (VFS) on. Under these conditions, a capture efficiency of 96% (plus or minus 2.8% at the 90% confidence level) was documented near the singulator area of the BDS. Based on the results in this report, the USPS expects to deploy airflow restrictors, like orifice "A", on all AFCS equipment within the USPS. Furthermore, given the need to implement a system to regularly evaluate the contaminant capture capabilities of the BDS system, the USPS has implemented a combination of sensors and inspections to maintain designed performance parameters for the BDS. As such, the USPS has specific plans to 1) ensure that BDS equipment provides a pressure sensor that detects if the BDS airflow is different from required values, and 2) under a contract with Northrop Grumman, institute a preventative maintenance plan to regularly test BDS airflow and inspect the mechanical seals of the BDS system. Further test requirements are under review by the USPS which will meet all federal guidelines for employee safety and health.
Region-5; Postal-employees; Machine-operation; Machine-operators; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-systems; Bacterial-infections; Biohazards; Biological-warfare-agents; Gas-detectors; Air-contamination; Air-flow; Exhaust-ventilation; Filtration; Control-technology
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Mail Stop R-5, Cincinnati, OH 45226
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Field Studies; Control Technology
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Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
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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