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In-depth survey report: evaluation of local exhaust ventilation systems for the advanced facer canceller system at United States Postal Service, Cleveland Processing and Distribution Center, Cleveland, Ohio.

Beamer BR; Martin SB Jr.; Moyer ES; 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 279-19a, 2004 Mar; :1-19
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted an evaluation of the Ventilation/Filtration System (VFS) developed for the United States Postal Service (USPS) mail-processing equipment-the Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS). The VFS was developed and installed by a private contractor hired by the USPS to reduce the potential for employee exposure to harmful substances that could be contained in mail pieces processed by the equipment. This effort is in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks that used the mail as a delivery system for anthrax. 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 including: tracer gas (TG) experiments; air velocity measurements and smoke release observations to evaluate contaminant capture efficiency, and simultaneous particle count experiments upstream and downstream of the VFS filtration to evaluate system filtration efficiency. All three capture efficiency tests indicated that the VFS met or exceeded USPS minimum requirements at all locations not adjacent to the eventual Biohazard Detection System (BDS) installation site. Filtration testing showed not only that the entire filtration system met or exceeded High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration parameters with either Donaldson HEPA filters or American Air Filter (AAF) filters installed but also that these filters can be used interchangeably with the VFS system evaluated. Furthermore, air velocity measurements made with restricted air flow to simulate "dirty filters" indicated that the capture capabilities of the system still met USPS acceptance criteria at all locations except, intentionally, at locations where the BDS was to be installed. This indicates that the system should perform sufficiently well even under conditions of acceptable filter loading. Based on the results of the measurements and observations from the survey, the following recommendations are made to further monitor the capture and filtration of potential contaminants by this VFS: 1) The VFS for the AFCS should be re-tested when the production model of the BDS is installed onto the system. Furthermore, this testing should take place on a regular basis to ensure adequate capture efficiency in the area of the BDS. This is especially important since the exhaust components of the VFS may interfere with proper exhaust and contaminant capture of the BDS. 2) VFS capture efficiency testing and filtration testing should be made regularly to ensure that USPS workers are continually protected against the effects of another bio-terrorist event. 3) AFCS VFS Unit # 1 through Unit # 7 should be tested for overall system filtration efficiency. VFS Unit # 8 exceeding 99.97% efficiency does not infer that the other seven units will meet this requirement. 4) Extreme care should be taken when performing any maintenance on the VFS, particularly any operation that could disturb the seal of the filters inside the VFS housing. 5) Real-time total system integrity testing is the only reliable test method for evaluating total system filtration performance. 6) Although testing showed adequate capture under acceptable filter loading, care should be taken to perform filter maintenance and change-out on the manufacturer's recommended schedule.
Postal-employees; Machine-operation; Materials-handling-equipment; Gas-detectors; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-systems; Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Environmental-contamination; Environmental-control-equipment; Equipment-design; Exhaust-systems; Exhaust-ventilation; Region-5; Bacterial-disease; Biological-weapons
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch, Mail Stop R-5, 4676 Columbia Parkway, 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