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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2008-0099-3152, air contaminant, noise, and dermal hazards during aluminum beverage can manufacturing - Texas.

Rodriguez M; West C; Brueck SE
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 2008-0099-3152, 2012 Feb; :1-51
In January 2008, NIOSH received a confidential employee request for an health hazard evaluation (HHE) at an aluminum beverage can manufacturer. The requestors were concerned about workplace exposures to metalworking fluids (MWFs), inorganic acids, printing inks, and noise. Health problems believed to be work related included skin rash, upper respiratory symptoms, headaches, and fatigue. During the initial site visit, investigators observed work processes, collected screening air samples for volatile organic compounds, and measured noise levels. We talked with employees about their work activities and their health. We also reviewed OSHA 300 Logs of Work-Related Illnesses and Injuries, material safety data sheets, and written health and safety procedures. During our second site visit we collected air samples for MWFs, inorganic acids, dibutylaminoethanol, formaldehyde, and endotoxin. We analyzed bulk samples of MWFs for bacteria, fungi, and endotoxin. We measured employees' noise exposures and took noise frequency measurements. We asked employees to complete a confidential symptom survey to look at possible associations between MWF exposure and dermatitis, respiratory symptoms, and PPE use. During the second site visit, 128 out of 148 (86%) available plant employees completed the symptom survey. The survey data show that few employees who were exposed to MWF reported respiratory symptoms. We found no convincing evidence of a relationship between MWF exposure and work-related respiratory symptoms or dermatitis. Of the employees who completed the survey, 16% reported dermatitis since starting at the plant. Of 119 employees who completed the survey, four reported work-related dermatitis during the previous month. Employees were not overexposed to MWFs, inorganic acids, dibutylaminoethanol, or endotoxin during this evaluation. Employees' exposures to formaldehyde were below the OSHA PEL-TWA of 0.75 ppm. Two printer operators were exposed to formaldehyde above 0.1 ppm, the OSHA level requiring employee notification and training. Bacteria and endotoxin levels in the bulk MWF samples were very low, and no fungi were detected in the samples. This finding indicated that the MWF system was well maintained. All 26 of the monitored employees' TWA noise exposures exceeded the NIOSH REL of 85 dBA for an 8-hour work shift and 83.4 dBA for a 12-hour work shift. Printer operators and back end operators who worked in the necker and lacquer spray areas had TWA noise exposures greater than 100 dBA. Because OSHA uses different noise measurement criteria than NIOSH, TWA noise exposures for material handlers, millwrights, palletizers, and front end maintenance and repair personnel did not exceed the PEL. However, employees' noise exposures in all of the job titles monitored exceeded the OSHA AL of 85 dBA for an 8-hour work shift and 82.1 dBA for a 12-hour work shift. We recommended the company use engineering controls to reduce noise levels. We also recommended that employees working in the lacquer spray, necker, and printer areas wear dual hearing protection (ear plugs and ear muffs) because noise exposures exceeded 100 dBA. Additionally, we recommended that employees exposed to airborne MWF concentrations exceeding half of the REL (0.20 mg/m3) receive annual medical monitoring. Other recommendations included wearing PPE, inspecting the ventilation systems, reducing slippery walking surfaces, and reporting all work-related health symptoms.
Region-6; Health-hazards; Aluminum-compounds; Metalworking-fluids; Inorganic-acids; Printing-inks; Noise; Exposure-assessment; Skin-irritants; Skin-exposure; Skin-sensitivity; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Fatigue; Air-sampling; Sampling; Bacteria; Fungi; Endotoxins; Noise-exposure; Noise-measurement; Health-surveys; Dermatitis; Employee-exposure; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Personal-protective-equipment; Noise-control; Noise-levels; Engineering-controls; Author Keywords: Aluminum Extruded Product Manufacturing; beverage can manufacturing; aluminum cans; metalworking fluids; MWFs; formaldehyde; noise; octave band analysis; hearing loss; audiogram; acids; dermatitis; rash
7429-90-5; 50-00-0; 102-81-8
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
HETA-2008-0099-3152; B02172012
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division