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In-depth survey report: styrene exposures during fiber reinforced wind blade manufacturing at LM Glasfiber, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Hammond D; Myers DVL; Garcia A; Farwick D; Johnson B; 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 306-19b, 2009 Feb; :1-31
In December 2007, NIOSH researchers conducted an in-depth survey at LM Glasfiber in Grand Forks, North Dakota and sampled for styrene, noise, and total particulate. LM Glasfiber manufactures wind blades for utility scale wind energy applications and had previously requested to participate in the NIOSH engineering control research project related to controlling occupational exposures to styrene. Sampling results from the in-depth survey indicated that personal breathing zone samples were higher than the IDLH value for styrene during one process where workers entered the wind blade to wipe the glue that was pressed out when the two half blades were joined together. Sampling results also indicated that personal breathing zone samples were higher than the ceiling limit for styrene during the gelcoating process. Following the NIOSH in-depth survey, LM Glasfiber initiated several efforts to reduce the styrene concentrations inside of the wind blade specifically focusing on the glue wipe process. In March 2008, NIOSH researchers conducted a follow up survey at LM Glasfiber to evaluate personal breathing zone concentrations for styrene for a design change to the molds that eliminated the need for workers to enter the IDLH atmosphere during the glue wipe operation. Although the design change prevented workers from entering the IDLH atmosphere inside of the wind blade, several workers still performed operations near the opening to the blade. Personal breathing zone samples collected from workers near the opening to the wind blade during the follow-up NIOSH evaluation of the glue wipe process indicated that all styrene concentrations were below IDLH and all but one concentration was below the ceiling limit for styrene. Sampling results also indicated potential for overexposures to dust and noise during the cut and trim process. This report describes the methods and results from the in-depth and follow-up evaluations at LM Glasfiber and provides recommendations for reducing occupational exposures to styrene, noise, and dust during the wind blade manufacturing process.
Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Region-8; Styrenes; Noise; Fibrous-dusts; Fibrous-glass; Particulates; Plastics; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Air-sampling; Dusts; Breathing-zone; Equipment-design; Control-equipment; Central-nervous-system-disorders; Neurological-system; Noise-control; Molds; Reinforced-plastics
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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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