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Reducing respirable dust exposures of workers using an improved clothes cleaning process.

Cecala A; Pollock D; O'Brien A; Howell J
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2006 May; :32
A quick, safe, and effective process has been developed that allows workers to clean their dust laden work clothing periodically throughout the day. Contaminated work clothing has been a known major contributor to increased employee respirable dust exposure for many years. This newly designed process is relatively inexpensive and can be easily installed at any operation to allow workers to clean their clothing without contaminating the worker, the work environment, or co-workers to elevated respirable dust levels. This clothes cleaning process uses an air spray manifold to blow dust from a worker's clothing in an enclosed booth. Since the booth is under negative pressure, no dust escapes to contaminate the work environment and or other workers. The worker performing the cleaning process is required to wear a half-mask fit-tested respirator, hearing protection, and full seal goggles. Dust samples taken inside the respirator of test personnel performing the clothes cleaning process showed very minimal to no respirable dust exposure. During field testing, the clothes cleaning process was 10 times faster (taking less than 20 seconds) and was approximately 50% more effective than either the federally approved method of vacuuming, or the most commonly used method of using a single air hose. This new process was developed under a cooperative research effort by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Unimin Corporation. This clothes cleaning process has tremendous applicable to any industry where workers' clothing becomes contaminated with any type of dust or product.
Workers; Work-environment; Dust-particles; Dust-exposure; Clothing; Respiration; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Hearing-protection; Eye-protection; Eye-protective-equipment; Sampling
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois
Page last reviewed: August 26, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division