Health hazard evaluation report, HETA-2004-0014-2929, Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, Farmington, New Mexico.
On October 1, 2003, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a management request to conduct a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI), in Farmington, New Mexico. The request was to evaluate noise exposures during potato processing and packaging (Fresh Pack area), corn storage and dispensing (Granary), and equipment maintenance and other mechanical tasks at the Mechanic Shop. During the course of the investigation, NIOSH was also requested to measure noise exposure during the manufacture of alfalfa pellets. During the NIOSH visit, the granary was not operating and was not monitored. Potential ergonomic hazards were identified during the packaging of potatoes in the Fresh Pack area. Between October 27 and 30, 2003, NIOSH investigators conducted a site visit at NAPI. Following a meeting on October 27, 2003, with NAPI's safety officers, NIOSH investigators toured the facility. On October 28 and 29, 2003, NIOSH measured noise exposure to 18 employees in the Fresh Pack area, where potatoes are unloaded from a truck, washed, sorted, and packaged for shipment. On October 30, 2003, NIOSH investigators measured noise exposure on two employees during the manufacture of alfalfa pellets, and on two mechanics from the mechanic shop. The noise exposure assessment revealed that, of the 22 employees monitored, 6 attained or exceeded the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). Four of these employees were from the Fresh Pack area, and one each from the alfalfa pellet-mill operation, and the mechanic shop. Two of the six (bagger and pellet mill operator) also exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Action Limit (AL). NAPI has a well-managed hearing conservation program for employees in the Fresh pack area. Employees were observed wearing foam ear plugs correctly and consistently. We observed ergonomic-related issues during the packaging of potatoes and potential exposure to mold during the manufacture of alfalfa pellets. There is a potential for excessive noise exposure in the Fresh Pack area, the alfalfa-pellet manufacturing area, and the mechanic shop. Twenty-seven percent of the employees who were monitored for noise attained or exceeded the NIOSH REL. In addition, there is an ergonomic hazard during the packaging of potatoes in the Fresh Pack area and a potential for respiratory hazards during the manufacture of alfalfa pellets. Recommendations on these issues are included in this report.
Region-6; Hazards-Confirmed; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Airborne-dusts; Microorganisms; Molds; Biological-agents; Noise-protection; Noise-exposure; Food-handlers; Food-processing; Food-processing-industry; Food-processing-workers; Ergonomics; Materials-handling; Manual-materials-handling