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In-depth survey report: styrene and noise exposures during fiber reinforced plastic boat manufacturing at Grady-White Boats, Inc., Greenville, North Carolina.

Hammond D; Blade LM; Garcia A; Feng HA; Morata TC; Kardous CA
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 306-12b, 2008 May; :1-17
A three-day in-depth field survey was performed to assess the occupational exposures of styrene vapors, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the engineering controls currently installed for reducing styrene exposures during a fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boat manufacturing processes. The primary objective of this study was to quantify exposures at a boat manufacturing facility that uses ventilation, low styrene resins, and non-atomizing spraying techniques to reduce emissions and worker exposures during open-mold manufacturing of fiberglass boats. A secondary objective was to assess the noise levels occurring during jobs which involve the use of styrene-based products. The effectiveness of the styrene controls examined in this study was evaluated by measuring styrene concentrations in personal breathing-zone and general-area samples during typical work shifts. The general-area air sample results were below 14 parts per million (ppm) for all of the areas sampled. The lowest personal breathing-zone samples were measured from workers in the closed-mold job category which resulted in a geometric mean styrene concentration of 8.5 ppm. The personal breathing zone samples of workers in the open-molding processes ranged from a geometric mean styrene concentration of 20 ppm for the gel-coaters to 92 ppm for the stringer glass-in workers. One of the twenty-one personal breathing zone samples from hull laminators was higher than 100 ppm. Six of the twelve personal breathing zone samples from stringer glass-in workers were higher than 100 ppm. Three of the personal breathing zone samples higher than 100 ppm were measured from the same worker each day for three consecutive days. A change in work practices could likely reduce these high exposures. Additional recommendations for reducing exposures include increasing ventilation for stringer glass-in workers and hull laminators. The continued use of respirators with organic vapor cartridges is also recommended. Results from workers who are considered to be exposed to both styrene and noise indicated that most of the styrene exposures for this group are equal or below 43 ppm. If any of the workers in this group develop a hearing loss that cannot be explained by their noise exposure, he or she should be referred to his or her physician for further examination.
Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Region-4; Boat-manufacturing-industry; Styrenes; Noise; Noise-analysis; Exposure-assessment; Fibrous-dusts; Fibrous-glass; Plastics; Reinforced-plastics; Styrene-resins; Air-samples; Air-sampling; Breathing-zone; Ventilation; Exposure-levels; Vapors
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 45226-1998
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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