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  • Page 1Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    Evaluation of Metalworking Fluid Exposure and Dermatitis among Rifle Barrel Manufacturing Employees

    HHE Report No. 2014-0170-3263December 2016

    Loren C. Tapp, MD, MSKendra Broadwater, MPH

    Charles A. Mueller, MS

    U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesCenters for Disease Control and PreventionNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

  • Page 2 Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    ContentsHighlights ...............................................i

    Abbreviations ..................................... iii

    Introduction ......................................... 1

    Methods ............................................... 3

    Results .................................................. 6

    Discussion .......................................... 21

    Conclusions ........................................ 23

    Recommendations............................. 24

    Appendix A ........................................ 28

    Appendix B ........................................ 31

    Appendix C ........................................ 33

    References .......................................... 36

    Acknowledgements ........................... 43

    The employer is required to post a copy of this report for 30 days at or near the workplace(s) of affected employees. The employer must take steps to ensure that the posted report is not altered, defaced, or covered by other material.

    The cover photo is a close-up image of sorbent tubes, which are used by the HHE Program to measure airborne exposures. This photo is an artistic representation that may not be related to this Health Hazard Evaluation. Photo by NIOSH.

  • Page iHealth Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    We evaluated exposure to metalworking fluid and dermatitis among employees at a gun barrel manufacturing facility. One metalworking fluid mist level was measured at the occupational exposure limit. Some production employees reported work-related asthma-like symptoms. We also found that skin exposure to metalworking fluid contributed to dermatitis. We recommend limiting skin and respiratory exposure to metalworking fluid by improving metalworking fluid mist control, changing manual handling practices, and improving access to and consistent use of gloves. Additionally, encouraging employees to report possible work-related symptoms early may prevent more serious problems.

    Highlights of this EvaluationThe Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a manager at a rifle barrel manufacturing company. The manager was concerned about skin irritation and rashes among employees who were exposed to metalworking fluids. We visited the facility in August 2014 and November 2014.

    What We Did We observed work practices and personal protective equipment use.

    We reviewed illness and injury logs, workers compensation claims, and air sampling reports.

    We interviewed 46 employees about work and medical concerns and looked at employees rashes.

    We took personal air samples for metalworking fluid mist and endotoxin. We asked sampled employees to complete a symptom survey after their work shift.

    We asked all employees to complete a questionnaire about their work exposures and possible work-related symptoms.

    What We Found Many employees had skin exposure to

    metalworking fluids, including oils and coolant, and to rust inhibitor.

    Several current and former primary area employees had a history of rash from skin exposure to oil.

    Employees with skin exposure to coolant had more work-related dermatitis than employees without skin exposure to coolant.

    Ten production employees reported work-related asthma-like symptoms (chest tightness or wheeze that improves away from work).

    Two shipping employees reported work-related asthma-like symptoms.

    Work-related asthma-like symptoms may be related to exposures to metalworking fluid or other contaminants in the facility.

    One metalworking fluid mist level in the air reached the recommended limit during our visit.

  • Page ii Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    The highest metalworking fluid mist levels occurred in the milling and chambering departments.

    What the Employer Can Do Provide drilling employees with additional tools to reduce handling of oil-covered

    metal chips.

    Provide computer numerical control machining employees with tools they can use to dip parts into rust inhibitor.

    Establish a complete metalworking fluid maintenance program and include mist collector maintenance.

    Repeat air monitoring yearly and when processes change or production increases. If levels are more than half the recommended exposure limit, repeat monitoring every 6 months.

    Start a medical surveillance program for employees who are exposed to metalworking fluids.

    Train employees on the hazards of metalworking fluids and ways to avoid skin exposure when they are hired and repeat training once every year.

    Make gloves more accessible to production employees and enforce their use when there is direct contact with metalworking fluid.

    What Employees Can Do Use tools and gloves to avoid skin contact with metalworking fluids and rust inhibitor.

    Wash skin with soap and water if metalworking fluid (coolant or oil) or rust inhibitor gets on your skin.

    Do not wash your hands with solvent.

    Tell your supervisor if you notice early signs of skin problems or respiratory symptoms that you think may be related to work. Taking action early may prevent more serious problems.

  • Page iiiHealth Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    AbbreviationsACGIH American Conference of Governmental Industrial HygienistsANSI American National Standards Institute BLS Bureau of Labor StatisticsCFR Code of Federal RegulationsCFU/mL Colony forming units per milliliterCI Confidence intervalsCNC Computer numerical controlEU/m3 Endotoxin units per cubic meterISEA International Safety Equipment Associationmg/m3 Milligrams per cubic meterMWF Metalworking fluidNAICS North American Industry Classification SystemNIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthOEL Occupational exposure limitOSHA Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationPPE Personal protective equipmentPR Prevalence ratiosREL Recommended exposure limitTLV Threshold limit valueTWA Time-weighted averageWEEL Workplace environmental exposure level

  • Page iv Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

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  • Page 1Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    Introduction The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from managers at a rifle barrel manufacturing company. The request concerned skin irritation and rashes among production employees who were exposed to metalworking fluids (MWFs). We visited the facility in August and November 2014 to assess MWF exposures and learn more about employee symptoms and health concerns. We sent letters summarizing our preliminary findings and recommendations in August 2014 and November 2014. We provided employees with their own exposure results and the employer with summary exposure results in February 2015 and November 2016.

    BackgroundThe rifle barrel manufacturing company began operating in 1976 and moved to the current 100,000-square-foot-building in 1995. The building was divided into two production areas on the first floor and administrative offices on the second floor. At the time of our visits, 86 nonunion employees worked across two 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday.

    In 2012, higher demand for the product led the company to hire more employees (up to 200) and institute two 10-hour work shifts per day. Since then, the number of employees has fluctuated between 80 and 200 depending on production demands. Between 2013 and 2014, three informal, confidential complaints were made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE), skin and breathing problems, and exposure to MWF. OSHA did not inspect the facility, but requested by letter that the company investigate, make needed corrections, and document its findings and modifications in writing. At the suggestion of OSHA, the company requested a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) health hazard evaluation.

    Metalworking Fluids This facility mainly used two types of MWFs, a mineral oil-based MWF they refer to as oil and a semisynthetic water-based MWF they refer to as coolant, wording we have maintained in this report. Inhalation of MWF aerosols may irritate the throat, nose, and lungs and has been associated with chronic respiratory problems. Skin contact with MWF may cause skin disorders. Detailed information on occupational exposure limits (OELs) and health effects from MWF exposure is presented in Appendix A.

    Process DescriptionThe two production areas were separated by a concrete wall with a large center passageway for moving materials from one side to the other. The front production area contained the shipping department that had large bay doors for receiving raw materials (stainless steel and steel alloy cylinders) and shipping finished rifle barrels. The sawing, and secondary production processes (chambering, milling, and stamping departments) were located adjacent to the shipping department. The back production area contained the primary production processes (drilling, reaming, and rifling departments), the clean and inspect stations, the

  • Page 2 Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2014-0170-3263

    ovens, and the lathe department (a secondary production process). Rifle