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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2007-0127-3068, evaluation of exposures at a pottery shop, FUNKe Fired Arts (formerly known as Annie's Mud Pie Shop), Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chen-L; Ramsey-J; Brueck-S
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, HETA 2007-0127-3068, 2008 Aug; :1-31
On February 2, 2007, NIOSH received a management request for an HHE at FUNKe Fired Arts, previously known as Annie's Mud Pie Shop, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although no health symptoms were reported, management was concerned about the potential for employees' long-term exposure to a variety of substances while performing duties at the pottery shop. Exposures of concern included silica from the clay mixing process, elements from mixing dry materials used in the glazes, and VOCs and gases during kiln firing. Because management requires the use of respirators during clay and glaze mixing, they also requested information on proper respirator use and maintenance. On March 21, 2007, NIOSH investigators held an opening conference and toured the facility to review work processes. On April 11, 12, and May 24, 2007, NIOSH investigators collected eight 8-hour PBZ samples and six area air samples for respirable particulates and silica. Six separate PBZ samples were taken while employees performed specific dust-generating tasks. Wipe sampling for elements was conducted throughout the facility. An ergonomic evaluation of the work processes was performed. During the firing of the kilns, area air samples were taken for elements, NO2, SO2, CO, CO2, and VOCs. CO readings were also taken during forklift activities. None of the PBZ or area air samples exceeded the OSHA PELs or NIOSH RELs for any of the compounds measured, although one employee's exposure for silica was at the NIOSH REL of 0.05 mg/m3. Tasks that created the highest concentrations of respirable silica and particulates included moving bags of raw materials to and from storage and mixing clay. Short-term concentrations of silica were high, reaching 2.0 mg/m3 over 96 minutes of sampling. This exceeded ACGIH's excursion limit of 5 times the TWA TLV. VOCs, NO2, and SO2 concentrations were not detected above the MDC during the kiln-firing process. Although PBZ samples of CO were not taken during the use of the forklift, real-time area CO measurements taken at breathing zone level in the storage room peaked at 204 ppm, exceeding the NIOSH ceiling limit of 200 ppm. Due to the silica content of the clay and the potential for silica exposures to exceed OELs, we recommend using engineering controls to reduce employee exposures. This includes installing LEV in areas where high dust-generating activities take place and improving general building ventilation to allow adequate intake of outdoor air, mixing of indoor air, and dilution of potential airborne contaminants. Engineering controls are the preferred method over respirator use to reduce exposures to workplace contaminants. However, respirators should be used, and a formal respiratory protection program should be implemented until exposures can be reduced below the NIOSH REL and ACGIH excursion limit for silica. We also recommend establishing a health and safety training program for employees on appropriate equipment use and hazards. We further recommend that employees and students practice good hygiene in the workplace. Regular preventive maintenance for the forklift should be performed, eventually transitioning to a low or no emission forklift, and loading dock doors should be kept open while using the forklift to prevent the build-up of CO.
Region-5; Ceramics; Ceramics-industry; Ceramic-materials; Silica-dusts; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Metals; Pottery-industry; Pottery-glaze; Dusts; Respirators; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Ergonomics; Refractory-metals; Fibrous-glass; Fibrous-dusts; Respirable-dust; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Volatiles; Organic-compounds; Organic-dusts; Organic-chemicals; Author Keywords: Vitreous China; Fine Earthenware; Other Pottery Product Manufacturing; ceramics; silica; particulate matter; metals; elements; pottery; kilns; dust; clay; respirators; glazes; cobalt oxide; VOCs; CO2; CO; forklifts; ergonomics; refractory ceramic fibers; glass fibers
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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