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Evaluation of metal and noise exposures at an aircraft powerplant parts manufacturer
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  • Description:
    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from welders at an aircraft powerplant parts manufacturing facility concerning exposures to chromium, hexavalent chromium, nickel, and noise. During our evaluation of welders and welding supervisors, we reviewed facility health and safety programs and documents, measured employee exposures to both airborne metals and noise, held confidential medical interviews, administered medical questionnaires, performed nasal examinations, and tested urine for nickel, chromium, and cobalt. We found one welder exposed to airborne nickel levels above the NIOSH recommended exposure limit. Exposures to airborne chromium, hexavalent chromium, and cobalt were low. Four welders and one welding supervisor had urine nickel levels above the normal general population level. One welder had a urine cobalt level that was above the normal general population range. Welding booths were not equipped with local exhaust ventilation (LEV). Mobile LEV units were available; however, welders reported receiving no training on their use. Welders and welding supervisors were not enrolled in the company respiratory protection program. We found six employees exposed to noise levels above the NIOSH recommended exposure limit and two above the OSHA action level. Some employees reported tinnitus and/or trouble hearing clearly. Noise exposure in the welding area came primarily from the use of compressed air for cooling welds or cleaning surfaces. We observed improper earplug use and welders and welding supervisors were not included in the company hearing conservation program. Our recommendations included installing LEV systems in the welding booths, not allowing consumption or storage of food or drink in work areas, providing a dedicated space for employees to change clothes, using vacuums equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters instead of compressed air for cleaning work surfaces, using compressed air nozzles designed to generate less noise when applying compressed air to cool welds, and ensuring the appropriate employees are enrolled in the company hearing conservation program and respiratory protection program." - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSHTIC no. 20055644

    Recommended citation: NIOSH [2019]. Evaluation of metal and noise exposures at an aircraft powerplant parts manufacturer. By Feldmann KD, Jackson DA. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2018-0001-3349,

    https://www .cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2018-0001-3349.pdf.

    https://www .cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2017-0127-3348.pdf.

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