Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2004-0117-2964, Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream, Hagerstown, Maryland.
On March 2, 2004, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) from the United Steelworkers of America, Local 9386, in Hagerstown, Maryland. The HHE request indicated that workers at Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream (GHB) were concerned with a variety of health and safety issues, including awkward and unadjustable equipment located in the hand packing areas and the use of potentially irritating chemicals such as food grade silicone lubricants, hot melt adhesives, and cleaning and sanitizing agents. During April 28-30, 2004, NIOSH investigators conducted a site visit at GHB. The NIOSH team included an ergonomics specialist, an epidemiologist, and an industrial hygienist. The evaluation consisted of an opening conference attended by the manager of Human Resources, the plant Safety Facilitator, the GHB corporate safety manager, the president of the United Steel Workers of America, Local 9386, the lead member of the Freezer department, and several employees. Following this meeting, we conducted a plant walk-through, interviewed 20 workers, and observed some of the work tasks specified in the HHE request. The closing conference took place on April 30, 2004. The ergonomics evaluation indicated that some jobs, e.g., hand packing, were highly repetitive, and at times workers were required to reach too high and too far, placing them at risk for upper extremity musculoskeletal injuries. Workers lifting bulk containers of waste ice cream risked musculoskeletal injuries to the low back. Confidential interviews with 20 workers and our observations indicated several hazards. Wet and sloped floors presented slip and fall hazards to workers. Some chemicals irritated workers' eyes and lungs, while other workers were at risk for acute injuries from boxes falling from overhead conveyors. Improperly installed safety harnesses presented a risk of acute injury to workers who unloaded trucks. For the years 2002-2003, and the first three months of 2004, there were 82 injury and illness entries on the OSHA 300 log, 38 (46%) for musculoskeletal injury. Based on observations, OSHA log review, employee interviews, and evaluation of job tasks during this HHE, NIOSH investigators conclude that workers at GHB are at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, upper extremity, and back from repetitive production tasks and lifting. Irritating chemicals, falling boxes, and improperly installed safety equipment present risk for acute injury. This report contains recommendations to reduce the risk of injury to workers.
Region-3; Hazard-Confirmed; Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Repetitive-work; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Eye-irritants; Materials-handling; Manual-lifting; Manual-materials-handling; Cleaning-compounds; Back-injuries; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Neck-injuries; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment