Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2003-0367-2973, OmniSource Corporation, Lima, Ohio.
On September 8, 2003, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request from the Corporate Director of Safety of the OmniSource Corporation (OmniSource) to conduct a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) at that company's scrap metal (scrap) recycling facility in Lima, Ohio. The request asked NIOSH investigators to assist OmniSource management representatives in determining the need for installing showers for employees whose lead exposures exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). Workers identified as having elevated exposures to lead were those who use oxygen/propane torches to cut bulk scrap into smaller pieces using hand-held oxygen/propane torches. NIOSH investigators conducted site visits to the scrap recycling facility on October 14, 2003, and from April 19-22, 2004. During the initial site visit, a NIOSH industrial hygienist and a medical officer spoke with OmniSource management and labor representatives; they also toured the facility and witnessed the torch cutting and scrap processing. During the second site visit, the NIOSH investigators collected full-shift personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples and surface samples from workers' hands and solid surfaces. NIOSH investigators sampled during torch cutting operations to detect the presence of lead and other heavy metals. Ten of the 27 PBZ air samples exceeded the OSHA 8-hour PEL for lead; four samples exceeded the OSHA PEL for cadmium; three samples exceeded the NIOSH 10-hour Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for nickel; and three samples exceeded the OSHA PEL for copper. NIOSH wipe samples detected lead and other heavy metals on workers' hands, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other surfaces. A NIOSH interim report (September 3, 2004) provided OmniSource representatives with a preliminary summary of sample results and recommendations to control exposures. OmniSource employees were exposed to lead, cadmium, nickel, copper, and arsenic above the OSHA PEL and/or NIOSH REL while torch cutting scrap metal. Recommendations include adhering to substance-specific OSHA standards for lead, cadmium, and arsenic, including the requirement for employee showers and other hygiene practices. Other recommendations address the use of local exhaust ventilation during torch cutting operations and the need for PBZ air monitoring for welding gases.
Region-5; Lead-compounds; Lead-fumes; Lead-dust; Cutting-tools; Arsenic-compounds; Nickel-compounds; Cadmium-compounds; Cadmium-dust; Copper-compounds; Copper-dust; Copper-fumes; Exhaust-ventilation; Exhaust-systems; Welding-equipment; Industrial-hygiene; Industrial-hygiene-programs; Iron-compounds; Heavy-metals; Metal-dusts; Metal-fumes; Metal-industry-workers; Metal-industry; Metallic-dusts; Metallic-fumes;
Author Keywords: Recyclable Material Merchant Wholesalers; scrap metal; torching; cutting; lead; cadmium; nickel; copper; arsenic; iron; welding fumes; welding gases