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Preliminary testing of the modified mail pass and biohazard detection system for the ventilation and filtration system of the automated facer canceller system at Siemens Postal Automation Facility Arlington, Texas.

Hammond DR; 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 279-23a, 2006 Nov; :1-7
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a preliminary evaluation of the local exhaust ventilation at the delivery bins and a qualitative evaluation of the contaminant capture capabilities of the Biohazard Detection System (BDS) and Ventilation/Filtration System (VFS) for the Advanced Facer Canceller System (APCS). This evaluation was made on September 26, 2006 at Siemens in Arlington, Texas. The APCS was being modified for the United States Postal Service (USPS) by Siemens to meet USPS requirements and where possible reduce the potential for employee exposure to harmful substances that could be contained in mail processed by the equipment. The ventilation system for the APCS was designed to be used with a Biohazard Detection System (BDS) that samples and analyzes air from the APCS to determine if a biohazard is present. NIOSH has been evaluating Ventilation/Filtration Systems (VFS) for the USPS as a part of the USPS Emergency Preparedness Plan since January 2002. Evaluations were based on air velocity measurements and smoke release observations. Since the evaluation was only a preliminary test and Siemens was in the process of making additional modifications to the equipment, a full evaluation including sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as a tracer gas was not yet performed. The smoke release experiments showed that generally there is good capture by the VFS. Some interference by room air currents were noticed during smoke releases at the delivery bins. Capture of the smoke improved when temporary baffles were constructed to limit interference with room air currents. Smoke releases into the post flats extractor enclosure showed some smoke escaping when the BDS was exhausting into the enclosure. However, the enclosure performed well after the BDS exhaust was removed and the port was sealed. Air velocity measurements at all evaluated locations were above 100 ft/min. Based on the results in this report, the following recommendations are made to further improve the control of potential contaminants by the APCS ventilation and filtration system. There are areas at the letter delivery bins where contaminant might escape into the ambient atmosphere due to air currents in the general room air. This was shown by smoke release observations. Capture at this area was improved by adding temporary baffles. It is recommended that permanent baffles be installed. Smoke release observations showed poor capture in the area where the BDS exhausts into the post flats extractor enclosure. It is recommended that the BDS exhaust be relocated to exhaust manifold one to improve containment at the post flats extractor enclosure. All other evaluated areas appeared to be either well enclosed or adequately contained according to the smoke release and air velocity testing performed during this evaluation.
Biological-warfare-agents; Postal-employees; Biohazards; Machine-operation; Ventilation-systems; Filtration; Environmental-contamination; Employee-exposure; Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Equipment-design; Exhaust-ventilation; Region-6; Air-sampling-equipment; Air-flow
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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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