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DOCUMENT RESUME 



ED 290 021 



CE 049 387 



?iUTHOR 
TITLE 

INfTITUTION 

SPONS AGENCY 

PUB DATE 

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NOTE 

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EDRS PR ICS 
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Conrad , Fran ; Kayman , Lindsey 

Hazardous Chemicals on the Job* A Workers Guide to 
Reducing Exposure. 

Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park. Dept. o£ 
Labor Studies. 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 
Washington , D.C. 
83 

ECS3D375 

34p.; Document contains colored paper and print. 
Guides - General (050) 

MF01/PC02 Plus Postage. 

^Accident Prevention; Adult Education; Equipment 
Utilization; ^Hazardous Materials; Information 
Sources; ^Occupational Safety and Health; '^Safety 
Education; Safety Equipment; *Work Environment 
IDENTIFIERS *Chemicals 

ABSTRACT 

This guide is intended to assist workers in redu::ing 
their exposure to hazardous chemicals on the job. It describes a 
systematic preventive approach to hazardous chemicals that is based 
on the following steps: determining which chemicals are in use at a 
particular worksite (techniques for asking the company and steps to 
take if the company is unwilling to cooperate); identifying the 
short- and long-term health effects ol different chemicals; assessing 
the seriousness of exposure (solid, l*guid, and gaseous chemicals; 
ways in which chemicals enter the body; ways of determining how much 
exposure employees are receiving, and ways of identifying patterns of 
illness); methods o£ controlling exposure (control methods, personal 
protective equipment, and Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration [OSHA] policy on personal protective equipment). 
Appendixes include a chemical hazard inspection checklist, a table of 
glo^^e permeability, a form for use in requesting that a company 
supply information under OSHA, and comments on the degree of 
protection afforded by OSHA standards. An annotated resouixe list is 
also provided. llOi) 



************************* 

* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* from the or' riral document. * 

********************************< ^*it************1i********************* 




Hazardous Chemicals on The Job: 
A Workers Guide to Reducing Exposure 




by 

Fian Conrad and Lindsey Ka^man 
The Department of Labor Studies 
The Pennsylvania State University 



U t OCMRTMENT OF EOUCATION 
Offict of Educational R«M«rch and Improvimant 

ED^>»TI0NAL RESOURCES INFORMATION 
1 CENTER (ERIC) 

^This documsnt hat been reproduced as 
^ received from the person or organization 
originalir>g it 

□ Minor Changes have been made to improve 
reproduction quality 

a Points of view or opinions stated m Ihis docu 
ment do not necesMrily represent official 
OERl ^Sition or policy 



BEST COPY AVAILABLE 2 



"PERMISSr N TO REPRODUCE THIS 
MATERIAL HAS BEEN GnANTED B/ 




TO THE EDUCAflONAL RESOURCES 
INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC)." 



This work was developed reiying heavily on two pu jlicattons 

The Hazards of Work by Davd Clement Highlander Research and Education 
Center Newmarket TN 

An Introduction to Occupationr-it Health and Safety O'^'ar lO Federation of Labour 



3 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Can you do better than reacting to disease'? 1 

What chemicals are in use-^ 3 

1 First ask the company 

2 What do you do if the company says no'^ 

What can the chemicals do to you'? 7 

1 What types health effects do chemicals have'? 

2 Will they affect you today or when you retire'? 

How serious is the exposure'? 11 

1 SoI'd, liquid or gas'? 

2 How does the chemical get in the body'? 

3 How much exposure arc you getting'? 

4 Are there any patterns of illness'? 

How can exposure be controlled'? 17 

1 Control methods for chemicals from best to worst 

2 Personal protective equipment solution or problem'? 

3 What IS OSHAs policy on personal protective equipmenf? 

A preventive approach 21 

Appendices 23 

1 Chemical Hazard Inspection Checklist 

2 Table of Glove Permeability 

3 Request to Co ipany for Information Under OSHA 

4 Comn.ents on OSHA Standa, ds How protective are they'? 

Resource List 27 



4 



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Can you do better than 
reacting to disease? 



Alert union representatives often respond to complaints of headaches or 
other symptoms by looking into chemicals on the job Yet many chemicals 
— like asbestos — have no immediate effects and may be overlooked The 
only way you can be sure that such "timebombs" are not ticking away in the 
workplace is to look into the chemicals in your locations until you can answer 
these questions 

• What chemicals are in use'? 

• What can they do to you'? 

• How serious is the exposure'? 

• How can exposure be controlled'? 

• Better yet, can exposure be prevented'? 

This booklet should help you answer these questions and decide what 
steps to take The goal is a systematic preventive approach to hazardous 
chemicals 




1 



What chemicals are in use? 



1. First ask the company. 

Rarely are workplace chemicals labeled with more thar^. trade names like 
Safety Solvent" or just code numbers But you need chemical names to 
find out about a chemical. Some companies tell you chemical names if you 
ask, but most refuse, with excuses like protecting trade secrets or assur- 
ances that their chemicals are safe 

2. What do you do if the company says ;io? 

a Use ycur rights. You have some rights which can help get information 
TheOSHA Standaru 1910.20 allows you access to and copes of any 
exposure records the company has, including air sampling results. 
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) or any records which reveal 
chemical or trade namps of hazardous substances in the workplace 
The Standard does not however require the company to generate any 
exposure records it does not already have A sample letter requesting 
such information is included as Appendix 3. 

In addition, unions can demand chemical identification information 
under the National Labor Relations Act Section 8(a)(5) of the NLRA 
spells out the employer's duty to 'rovideupon request information that 
IS relevant and necessary to allow the Union to bargan and represent 
workers intelligently and effectively with respect to wages, hours and 
working conditions. If the company refuses to provide the information 
requested, you can file an 8(a)(5) charge against the employer with 
the NLRB Recently the Oil. Chemical and Atomic Workers and the 
Iriternational Chemical Workers have won such cases Employers 
have challenged the rulings, howeve^ tying the request up in the 
courts 

b Try to find out the product name, code number, manufacturer s name 
and address and warning (if any) from the label Workers in Purchas- 
ing or Shipping and Receiving may be able to help 

c Write or call the manufacturer and request a MSDS The information 
on the ivIoOG lo Ouei i it iciuequciie lur youf ueeub, ab iiiubuaiea oy me 
example on the next page which fails to identify the chemical ingre- 
dients Th- second example shows a useful MSDS Sources of 
factsheets jt put out by manufacturers) may be found in the Re- 
source List at the end of this booklet 

d Request help from the National Institute of C:cupatiorial Safety and 
Health (NIOSH) They have a collection of MSDSs by trade name If 
you have the chemical name, they will answer requests on health 



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3 

7 



Example of a poor MSDS 

U S DEPARTMENT OF 1J\B0R 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration 

MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET 

Required under USDL Safety and Health Regulations for Ship Repairing, 
Shipbuilding, and Shipbreaking (29 CFR 1915. 1916. 1917) 



Form Approved 
0MB No 44-R1387 



SECTION 1 

"manufactufiersname IGl-CC 'SROTfiERr RLnilF'r C^'. 

ADDRESS (Number Street City State and ZIP Code) 
EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NO 1- 5 8 9 15 0 

CHEMICAL NAME AND SYNONYMS Chen ' 1 06 1 Co^ 1 -IT 1 1" 
TRADE NAME AND SYNONYMS fl .=^Ke ' S ' fetSCl 
CHEMICAL FAMILY 

^ Wa^er jaxturo of -oap arid additive-^ 

SECTION V — HEALTH HAZARD DATA 
EFFECTS O F OVEREXPOSURE ^ay cau5^ drviif. the ::>}'in 

EMERGENCY AND FIRST AID PROCEDURES VJ i ^11 I'.aj.d" 'X^' . : 1'/ 




Excerpted from an OSHA MSDS. 



4 

8 



Example of a useful MSDS 





NO ' 


MATERIAL SAFETY DATA Sh'FFT 




CORPORATE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT 


TRICHLOROETHYLENE 


SCHENECTADY, N Y 12305 


Revision D 


Phone (518) aSS-'^OSS DIAL COMM 8*235-4085 






Date Tdlv 1979 


SECTION 1 MATERIAL IDENTIFICATION 



! lAIER JAL InIA! 1L : TRICriliDROETI ri^LEffi: 

OTFilR DEol^:^lIATiOf]S:TCr, Ethylene trichloride, Etheiiv] 
tr' chloride, CHCl-CClo, CAS POO 079 016 

IIITClR ' TRAIT m^TS: B17\C0-TOI (BarxDn-Blakeslee) ; 
/ihh-TRI, III-TRl (tow); TRICLEfJi: D S ^T^ (diamond 
Sharnock ) 



SECTION VI HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION "YUJ IOOd; 'H, SSSn'l^Vn^ 

Inhalation above TLV can irritate nose 8 thix^at, with 
dizziness, drov7sine3s, headache, nausea, unconscious- 
ness £ death if excessive exposure. Vapor or liquid 
can cc. use eye irritation 8 tearing; Skin contact causes 
irritation 8 demvatitus if prolonged or repeated. Inges- 
tion irritates digestive tract and inay cause naus^^i 8 
rapid drowsiness, partial paralysis 8 kidne^^ failure. 

FIRST AID 

Eye contact : wash ijimd^ly, plenty running water, get 

pzxxipt medical attention. 
Skin contact' : Remove contaminated clothing; wash with 

soap 8 warm wa^er. 
Inhalation : Remove to fresh air. Advise MD not to give 

adrenalin. 

Ingestion : Set Lmmud. *ncdical help] Warn MD not to use 
adrenalin. 



SECTION VII SPILL LEAK AND DISPOSAL PROCEDURES 




Excerpted from a General Electric Company MSDS. 



effects information. Contact. NIOSH, Information and Analysis Sec- 
tion, Mailstop C-19, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226 
(513) 684-8328. 

e Request helpfromOSH A An OSH A industrial hygenist maybeableto 
help you. Call the Area Office nearest you or the Region III office in 
Philadelphia (215) 596-1201, or the OSHA library ( Technical Data 
Center") in Washington, D C (202) 523-9700, 

f The Workers' Institute for Safety and Health (WISH) has a com- 
puterized file of information callr^d HAZALERT They will look ud 
health and safety hazards, information of safe handling and relevant 
regulations on chemicals, on request from a union. Union representa- 
tives can write WISH, 1126 16th St„ N W,, Washington, DC 20036, 
or call (202) 887-1980 

g Try to get a clause in your contract which will give workers the right to 
know the chemical names of substances in the plant 

h. Many locals have successfully used tactics such as leaflets and 
med-a. Some ha/e found labels which say "What is this stuff? We 
have a right to know" which stuck on vats containing unknown chemi- 
cals helped encourage workers to get involved 

I If you can get small samples of unknown substances, you can h^ive a 
laboratory analysis performed to find out what they are made of. This 
tactic may be relatively costly It is recommended that you use a lab 
which has been approved by the American Industrial Hygiene Associ- 
ation to bo sure results are accurate A list of these labs is included in 
the Resource Ust 

J Some locals have tried using the company's insurance company to 
pressure the company to lower exposures. Some insurance com- 
panies hive industnal nygiene departments which will come and 




What can the chemicals do to 

you? 



1. What types of health effects do chemicals have? 

Substances may be categorized according to the type of injury they 
produce, although many substances produce several different effects at 
different locations in the body, and thus may fall into more than one of ♦he 
categories listed below The type of effect may depend on concentration. 

a Toxic Substances (Poisons): This is a general term which some 
people would say includes all the effects listed below, plus other 
specific effects on the body. It is often used to refer to any substance 
wh-ch damages cells or other structures in the body or interferes with 
some body process. 

b. Imtants: These are the gases, dusts, fumes and mists which cause 
pain and reddening of the exposed area, most often the eyes, skin and 
respiratory tract. Effects are usually seen immediately, but the result of 
chronic irritation may be the fornation of ijcar tissue or other perma- 
nent chancos Irritant substances include gases such as ammonia, 
ozone, and chlorine, and the dusts of fiberglass and beryllium. Almost 
all solvents and their vapors are strong irritants. 

c Corrosives: These cause rapid death of cells on contact Exposure 
can cause pain, burning, bleeding or fluid loss 

d. Asphyxiants: Gases like acetylene and carbon dioxide in high con- 
centration replace oxygen in the air The result is asphyxiation or 
smothering 

e. Sensitizers (Allergens): Sorre substances react with the body's 
immune system to produce a delayed type of irritation known as an 
allergic reaction. The result may be a skin rash or a wheezing condi- 
tion similar to asthma. A chemical known as a toluene di-isocyanate 
(TDI), used in the manufacture of plastics and foams, causes asthma- 
like breathing difficulties in about SS'o c' oeople exposed to its vapc^G 
Substances like coal tar ar.d pitch sensitize the skin to the effects of 
sunlight 

f Carcinogens: These are chemicals which cause uncontrolled growth 
of cells, or cancer, by causing changes in the genetic material of cells 
Although little is known about how cancer-causing substances exe'l 
this type of effect, laboratory tests using animals and oacteria can 
often identify carcinogens. 

g Mutagens and Teratogens: Mutagens cause changes in the genetic 
material of cells but not necessarily cancer, Mutagens nay affect the 

7 

O j 1 



sperm and eggs leading to inherited defects Teratogens exert their 
effect on the cells of the developing fetus in the womb The end result 
cf e'ther, can be still-births, miscarriages and birth defects 
Any particular substance can react with the body in more than one way 
There are many examples of workplace pollutants which have irritant ef- 
fects at the surface they first contact, but also enter the circulation and 
cause poisonous or carcinogenic changes in other body systems Cadimum 
fumes for example harm the lungs and may cause kidney damage or 
prostate cancer much later 

2. Will they affect you today or when you retire? 

As mentioned above, many chemicals (!ike asbestos) have serious de- 
layed effects without early warning signs For others, symptomr r-iay be a 
clue of more serious problems to follow The effects of chemicals are often 
classified by how quickly they occur 
a Acute Effects: (Such as coughing or irritations of skin or nose ) An 
acute reactior- is one that occurs as an immediate response to expo- 
sure Effecis are usually obvious and short-lived They may be fol- 
lowed by recovery or somelimes by permanent damage 




?2 

8 



b Chronic Effects: ^Such as cancer or kidney disesse ) Strictly speak- 
ing, this term means long-lasting health effects, but it is usually used to 
mean delayed (as opposed to immediate) effects Often delayed 
effects are long-lasting (hence the confusion in the use of the word) 

Some chemicals, notably carc:nogens, may produce disease 30 
yeari: or even longer after initial expciure The interval between 
exposure and disease is called the latency period For some of these 
chemicals, such as asbestos, e.'^n a small exposure, followed by an 
exposure-free latency period, may result in disease 

Other chemicals cause harm after repeated low-level exposures 
Some, such as solvents, cause repeated injuries, the effects of winch 
build up even though the chemical leaves the body Others including 
cadmium and lead, accumulate in the tissues, canc'-.^ more damage 
as they build up 

An example showing the difference between ?Cuie and chronic effects is 
alcohol the acute reaction is drunkeness The chronic effects may incluae 
alcoholism and liver damage. 

The distinction is vital to unders'anding hazards of workplace chemicals 
Chronic and acute effects may be very different, and protecting against one 
may not protect against the other Remember that OSHA standards usually 
are designed to protect againsi cute effects only (See Appendix 4 for 
other limitations of standards ) 




here are some examples of ways in which acute and chnnic effects can 
r!:ffer 

• Some chemicals have no acute effects It may be years after 
exposure before chronic effects become visible Often it is too 
late to deal with the problem then Asbestos is a good example 
Acute reactions are minimal (perhaps a dry, dusty throat) 
Chronic effects can be catastrophic, including asbestosis — the 
permanent loss of lung capacity — and possibly cancer Mary 
industrial chemicals behave in this way, adverse effects emerg- 
ing only after years of use 

• Some substances have both acute and chronic effects, but the 
acute effects occur at much higher concentrations than the 
chronic ones. So setting a limit to control acute reactions alone 
may not offer protection against chronic ones An example !^ 
vinyl ch'oride monomer (see bcx below) 

t The doses of alcohol needed to cause chronic effects are sub- 
stantially more ihan those needed to create acute reactions 
Unlike control of most workplace chemicals if you limit the dose 
to control immediate visible effects you also eliminate chronic 
ones 

Many workplace chemicals may have well-documented "acute" effects 
But the long-term ' chronic" effects may be unknown and may only be 
uncovered by the appearance of long-term damage to workers in the future 
So many workers are in effect guinea pgs. 




Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) is used to make the piastic polyx'inyl 
chloride (PVC) The acute effects of VCM were identified in the 1 930s 
— It had a "narcotic" effect, or caused drowsiness Experiments were 
then carried out to use it as a medical anesthetic To prevent this 
narcotic effect in industry, the threshold limit value (TLV) was set at 
500 parts per million (PPM) in 1962. 

But further research on animals showed that VCM affects the liver, 
bones and kidneys, and the TLV was reduced to 200 PPM in 1 971 In 
1 974 a company announced that three of its workers exposed to VCM 
had died of liver cancer Since th i, the OSHA Standard has been 
radically reduced to its current k ' of 1 PP^'l (8 hour time-weighted 
average) 




How serious is the exposure? 



Once you know what a chemical is and its mam effects on the body, you 
need to take a look at the details of how people are exposed in your 
workplace This will help you decide about the seriousness of the problem, 
and what the best control methods are For example, if the chemical is a 
solvent, workers may be getting it on their skin, or into their bodies through 
their skin, proper gloves may be all that is needed If the solvent is hot or 
volatile, however, they may breath in its vapors, a problem which would 
require improved ventilation 

1. Solid, liquid, or gas? 

The "form" of a substance influences how it can get into the body, and 
what damage it can cause This form can change during the production 
process The mam forms of materials are 
a Solids. Unless they are in dust or fume form, these are unlikely to 
cause harm — though some may contaminate skin or food The mam 
danger from solids is that they can change form while being worked 
Wood can be turned into wood dust, which can be breathed Welding 
rods can decompose into fumes and gases Another example is 
teflon" used m "non-stick" pans In its solid form it is harmless When 
heatbd intensely (as by machinmg) it can decompose to form poison- 
ous gases Polyurethane foam is safe m its normal form, but when it 
burns it gives off deadly gases 

1 . Dusts are tiny particles of solids They may be brought into the 
worKplace as dusts (e g. bags of cement) or they may be created 
by work processes (e,g grinding or pulverization) In either case 
the mam danger from harmful dusts is that they may be breathed 
into the lungs Larger particles are usually trapped by hairs and 
mucus in the nose and windpipe, where they can then oe expelled 
But smaller particles ("respirable dust") may be breathed in 
deeply and could damage the lungs or enter the rest of the body by 
passing from the lungs to bloodstream Clouds of tiny dust parti- 
cles often cannot be seen except with special lighting Under 
certain conditions dust can also explode (as in gram silos) 
2 Fumes are formed when a solid is heated so hot it vaporizes (to a 
gas), then solidifies in the cooler air to fine solid particles which 
can be mhaled Welding causes the metal of the rod and the piece 
being welded to form fumes 
b Liquids. Many hazardous substances are liquids at normal tempera- 



ERIC 



tures Examples are acids and solvents Some liquids can damage the 
skin wh:le others are able to paso right through the skin and enter the 
body Many liquids give oft vapors (evaporate) which can be breathed 
into the lungs 

1 Mists are fine droplets of hquid suspended in air They can be 
formed by a spraying operation 
c Gases. Some substances are gases atnorrr^al temperatures (such as 
sulfur dioxide and uarbon monoxide), others are solids or liquids which 
become gases when heated Some are easy to detect, having color or 
smell, otheis are colorless and odorless and can only be detected wi ^h 
instruments (carbon monoxide) Some have immediate irritant effects, 
others have effects which may only become evident after considera- 
ble damage has been done Gases may also be flammable or explo- 
sive 

1 Vapors Many liquids evaporate (to a vapor) at room temperature, 
all evapuraie taster when heated The term "vapor pressure" 
indicates the speed at which a liquid evaporates If a liquid is toxic, 
then It IS mor,-^ dangerous if it has a high vapor pressure, as it will 
become airborne (and breathed) more rapidly. Some vapors are 
flammable or explosive The term "flash point" indicates the liquid 
temperatLTG3 at which the vapor can be ignited by a spark The 
lower the flash point, the more flammable the liquid In addition to 
toxicity a'^d flammability, vapors may be skin or eye irritants 

The following diagram il'ustrates how chemicals may change from one form 
to another due to processes (as heating, grinding, spraying, etc ) 



^ ? ? ? ? 




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16 



2. How does the chemical get in the body? 

There are thre<^ ways in which toxic substances can get into the body 
Often a substance can get in by more than one route Union representatives 
should inquire about this because it will help identify potential problems and 
suggest solutions. The three mam rouics are through 
a The Lungs. This is by far the most common way in which harmful 
chemicals get into the body at work Dusts, gases and vapors can all 
be mhaled. While a good deal of inhaled matter is breathed out again 
immediately, some part may remain There it may daridge or ir. 'tate 
the lung itself (for exampie acids may corrode tissues, while silica or 
asbestos may cause the lungs to prod'Jce cc?'s), or it may be ab- 
sorbed into the bloodstream to be ca'rried d other organs where 
damage occurs. Because breathing is so important as e route of 
contamination, the campaign for clean air at the workplace is a vital 
part of the fight against health hazards 

b The Skin. Some substances (such as acids) may attack the skin 
directly. These are often called "corrosive " Some irritate (such as 
certain cutting oils) and can cause dermatitis and possibly skin cancer 
after prolonged exposure Other substances (such as phenol or nitro- 
benzene) easily penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream So it 
wouldn't be enough to measure the airborne concentration of phenol 
— you would have to check foi skin contact as well 

c The Digestive System. This route is less common, but can occur 
through eating or smoking in the presence of contaminants So any 
workers involved with toxic materials should be provided with 
adequate washing facilities and separate eating facilities 




Some substances have different effects depending on howthey reach the 
body For example, the solvent trichloroethylene has more immediate and 
serious effects when swallowed than when its vapor is breathed 




3. How much exposure are you getting? 

Sometimes workers are exposed to huge quantites of a chemical all day 
long Other times there is a smaller exposure, or a less frequent one The 
importance of the amount of exposure depends on the types of effects of a 
chemical For example if the chemical only has acute effects, such as zinc 
oxide fume is thought to have, then reducing exposure to below the level at 
which discomfort is felt, is adequate protection But tf the chemical is known 
or suspected of having chronic effects, then the best course is to eliminate 
or at least minimize exposure 

If the chemical is in the air, the only v^^y to know how much there is, is to 
measure it with sampling equipment Workers should compare measured 
levels to the OSHA Standard when there is one. If the company has done 
any sampling, workers have the right to see the results, and get copies of 
them, under OSHA Standard 1910 20 (see page 3), 



IS 



Last, It IS important to look at protections already available For example. 
IS there already good ventilation or appropriate protective clothing'? You 
need to find out if affected workers are aware of and practicing safe work 
practices, such as wearing protective gear and using safety equipment 





4. Are there any patterns of illness? 

Union representatives may start with a complaint about headaches, or 
skin rashes, or may discover such problems by asking questions Some- 
times clues about chemicals come from patterns of ill effects several 
workers are having the same symptoms in one department; or headaches 
are worse on Mondays. By asking questions of workers on the job, and also 
workers who used to work a particular job, patterns may be uncovered 

Often management will try to convince you that problems you have such 
as fatigue, memory loss or irritability, are due to problems at home or to 
aging. It is important to decide for yourself if problems are occupational or 
not. Union representatives can ask workers about other possible exposures 
off the job or other health problems. 



ERIC 



15 



19 



How can 
exposure be controlled? 



The purpose of control measures is to eliminate the hazards the work- 
place presents to the worker. You can conveniently consider the measures 
from the point of view of v/here that control is exerted (1 ) at the source (2) 
along the path to the worker, (3) at the worker This is a useful approach 
since, in general, the further from the source, the less desirable or effective 
IS the control 




Drawing. Ontario Federation of Labour 



1. Control methods for chemicals from best to worst, 
a. Control at the sou^'ce. 

1 Substitution — Ca.i a different chemical be used which is safer'^ A 
common example jf substitution is using toluene instead of ben- 
zene Make sure, however, that the new substitute is proven to be 
safer Or can the same material be used in a different form*^ Many 
times dusty powders are also available in bricks which do not 
create dust when handled 

2 Change the Process — Can the job be done in a completely 
different and safer way An example is using a detergent or steam 
cleaning instead of using an organic solvent Or a variation on this 
theme is using the so-called "wet methods'" of control to eliminate 



1^ 21 



or control irritating dust Water has commonly been sprayed over a 
dusty operation or mixed with the material to form a slurry to 
prevent dust from being created 

3 Mechanize the Process — Is automating an operation the best 
answer to a dangerous job'^ An example is using an automatic 
parts dipper on a vapor degreaser rather than manually dipping 
parts into th'? tank. 

4 Isoiate the Prcc?S3 — Can the hazardous job be removed to a 
different part of the plant where fewer people are exposed'? Or 
done at a different time such as on a weekend or on the midnight 
shiff? As an alternative, can the worker be isolated from ihe general 
operational area by placing him in an air-conditioned control 
booth? 

Control along the pathway. 

1 . Enclose the Operation — Can the process be completely enclosed 
to keep the hazard from reaching the worker'? An example is splash 
guards and hoods over machining operations involving cutting 
fluids Another example is the use of pumps to handle solvents 
rather than dumping manually from one* container to another. 

2. Provide Exhaust Ventilation — If the problem cannot be changed 
by the above techniques, can local exhaust ventilation be used to 
control the hazard'? Exhaust ventilation is a very common solution 
to many health hazards, such as a spray paint booth or a vacuum 
hose on a gnnder 

3 Improve Housekeeping — Will better housekeeping control the 
problem'? For many operations, such as for lead dust in a storage 
battery manufacturing plant or for asbestos m brake shoe manufac- 
turing, stnct housekeeping is absolutely essential. Failure to have 
good housekeeping can cause the toxic materials to be rein- 
troduced back into the air, bnngng about additional and needless 
exposure. Of course, if possible, the toxic material is pieferably 
contained before it has a chance to cause a housekeeping prob- 
lem Remember that vacuuming is ♦he best method of cleaning 
dust — dry sweeping often makes the problem worse. 

4 Special Work Methods — Wetting a dusty process, for example 
The asbestos standard requires this. 

Control at the worker. 

1 ovide Personal Protective Equipment — When all else fails, are 
respirators, gloves, or aprons the only way to solve the problem'? 
Good practice of industnal controls must be tried first and protec- 
tive equipment used only as a last resort, but occasionally protec- 
tive equipment is necessary (see next page) 




2 Administrative Controls — Rotate hazardous jobs so that no 
worker is exposed a full shift for hazards like noise or heat, for 
which recovery periods can reduce health effects (Be careful that 
for chemicais you do not just allow more workers to be exposed to 
repeated low levels when there are chronic effects ) 

2. Personal protective equipment: solution or problem? 

It IS common sense that it is better to get a chemical out of the workplace 
than to rely on protective gear to shield the worker This is especially true 
since personal protective equipment (PPE) presents so many problems of 
discomfort and inadequency, induding. 



• Often hot and uncomfortable (and not 
worn); 

• Often ill-fitting, especially for women (usu- 
ally designed for the average male body), 

• May not be capable of prov.ding adequate 
protection (many chemicals can permeate 
the types of materials used in protective 
clothing); 

• Occasionally defective when manufac- 
tured, NIOSH has found much PPE defec- 
tive; 

• Hard hats, safety glasses, safety shoes, 
etc . can resist only so much pressure 



In addition, there is no standard of quality covering most PPE The 
Environmental Protection Agency has recently developed a manual on 
PPE, which will soon become available. For copies contact EPA, 401 M 
Street, S.W , Room 3503, Washington, D.C 20400 
a. Respirators. Of particular concern are respirators, since they are 
often the only barrier between a highly toxic contaminant and a work- 
er's body The bewildering array of respirators available is a problem, 
especially since having an appropriate one may be of life and df^ath 
importance But selection is not the only difficulty with respirators 
Even the best respirator has limitations, such as 

• Half masks and quarter masks allow eye and skin 
exposure, 

• Chemicals may get through overloaded cartridges 
or taking facepieces, or the wrong cartridge may 
be used, 

• Fail to fit with a proper seal, especially on people 
with atypical face shapes or with facial hair 





19 



P3 



Limitations aie far greater if a respirator is not used as part of an 
excellent respirator program As workers who wear them know, a 
good program is the exception rather than the rule. OSHA's respirator 
standard (1910.134) requires not only proper selection, but has de- 
tailed requirements for fit testing, training, monitoring, medical tests of 
a worker's ability to wear one, maintenance and storage (In addition, 
some standards, such as asbestos, lead and vinyl chloride, have their 
own specific requirements ) 

Without all of these provisions, respirators can cause more harm 
than provide protection, by creating a false sense of security. But even 
if appropriate respirators and a good program are in place, respirators 
are hot and uncomfortable, and many workers will take them off, 
especially in a hot onvironment. Other times workers may reoove 
them to talk, which in some cases is a safety precaution, as when one 
worker shouts a warning to another. Eight hours strapped silent and 
hot behind a mask is a lot to ask of an employee. 

b. A word on gloves. Most people think a glove is a glove and one is as 
good as another. But laboratory testing over the past few years has 
shown large variation in permeability to different chemicals The table 
in Appendix 2 shows one example of ratings assigned different glove 
materials by one research lab Workers usin g gloves to protect against 
chemicals they know or suspect are hazardous should seek out the 
best glove available. Contact manufacturers for test results of their 
products 

3. What is OSHA's policy on personal protective equipment? 

The policy (1910 132) simply states that PPE shall be "provided, used 
and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition" wherever needed 
because of hazards. The section on respirators (1910.134) is more protec- 
tive, stating that administrative or engineering controls should be im- 
plemented if feasible, before resprators are introduced. But companies 
(and recenth' OSHA too) argue that respirators are cheaper than eng'neer- 
ing coni.*:!o Unions would do well to point out that while respirators are 
inexpensive, a fully compliant respirator program is quite costly 



?4 

20 



A preventive approach 



Hopefully this booklet will help you respond to workers' complaints and 
potentiary hazardous chemicals in a systematic and thorough way 

Ongoing surveillance and improvement require the development of a 
committed and effective Health and Safety Committee The mam tasks it 
must take on regarding chemicals are 

1. Chemical Surveys. 

This should include all workplace chemicals, incluaing materials used for 
cleanup and other products used in maintenance, such as lubricating oils. 
Whatever way you make a chemical inventory is the right way read labels, ask 
Purchasing or Shipping and Receiving. 

2. Workplace Inspections. 

Make a block diagram of the work area you are inspecting, and note clearly 
what you have seen and heard. To do a good job, you may have to inspect only 
parts of the workplace at one time; you may have to go back to a particular area 
several times. Your goal is a thorough understanding of the work that goes on 
in the area you have examined. Develop a checklist like the one in Appendix 1 
for doing walk-through inspections. 

3. Research. 

Use the resources discussed in this booklet to find out about chemical 
effects and available controls 

4. Action. 

Once you have evaluated the hazard through inspections, questions, and 
research, you must work out strategies for gaming improvements, such as 
engineering controls, contract language or protective equipment. Health and 
safety requires a lot of work, but it can protect your health and even save your 
life' 




21 

P5 



Appendix I 
Chemical Hazard Inspection Checklist 

Job title of worker 
Describe the task or job 
Chemical used (trade names) 
Chemical names of contents if known 
Known health effects of chemicals 

Chemical Effects 
How often is the task or job done'? 
How long does it take'? . 

What form(s) is the chemical in when worker contacts \P 

What route(s) of entry does it appear to use to get into the body'? 

Ust any worker health complaints associated wit'n this chemical 

Do they correspond to known health effects'? 

Are there any patterns of problems in workers in this area, or workers who once worked 
there'? . . _ __ . __ ___ __ _ _ _ 

Controls: 

Describe any ventilation in place . ._ _ 

Are workers rotated'? _ _ _ _ ^ _ . __ 

Any personal protective equipmenf? 
If respirators are used 

Appropnale cartridge'? _ _ Approved b; NIOSH/MSHA'? Fit-tested before 

being assigned'? . _ Workers medically tested for ability to wear them'? _ Leak 
tested by workers before each use'? Properly stored'? Properly main- 

tained'? _ - Is each worker assigned his/her own'? 
Housekeeping and Hygiene: 

Are chemical spills cleaned up right away'? With proper protective gear'? 

Is toxic dust vacuumed or wet-swepf? 

Are there facilities for disposing of or laundering contaminated work clothing'? 

Who launders work clothes, worker or employee'? 

Are shower and changing facilities available'? 

If yes, IS time allowed at the end of each shift to use them'? 



ERIC 



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M'^thylene Chloride 
^ lyl Iodide 

1, 1,2, 2-Tc?irachlo.oe(hane 

1,1, 2-Trich)oroethane 

Perchloroethylene 

Methanol 

Ethanol 

2-Propanol 

n-Butanol 

Benzene 

Toluene 

Aniline 

Phenol {10'. Water) 
Acetone 

Methyl Ethyl Ketone 

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Dtmethyl Sulfoxide 

Dimethyl Formamide 

Pyridine 

Dioxane 

n-Hexane 

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27 



Appendix 3 

Request to Company for information Under OSHA 
Access to Employee Exposure Records Standard 



Date 

Dear (Name of Plant Manager) 
Pursuant to Federal OSHA regulation 29 CFR 

Part 1910.20, OCAW Local _ 

hereby requests that a copy of the following rec- 
ords be provided to the Union within 15 days: 

1 ) all employee exposure records including all 
environmental (workplace) monitoring re- 
sults, all biological monitoring results, and 
all material safety data sheets. For any 
toxic substance or physical agent for which 
these records do not exist, we request a list 
that identifies these substances or agents 
by their common generic or chemical 
name; 

2) any analysis using these exposure records; 
and 

3) any analysis using employee medica' rec- 
ords. 

Sincerely yours, 
Local Union Off' ^' 



25 

?8 



Appendix 4 

Comments on OSHA Standards: How protective are they? 



Workers may believe that OSHA s standards for chemicals are ' GCien- 
tific" and protect workers' health Actually this is not entirely true First, 
OSHA's standards are designed to prevent acute effects, but may offer no 
protection against chronic ones. Second, the standards are meant to pro- 
vide safe exposure limits for "average" healthy people Therefore, people 
who are young, old, small, pregnant or unfit are less likely to be protected 
Third, many standards represent political compromises The research 
agency, NIOSH, recommends exposure levels based on the best available 
evidence OSHA then begins a long standard-setting process involving 
hearings at which industry and labor representatives may testify Therefore 
most OSHA standards are the result of a compromise between worke*" 
health and safety and employers' economic considerations Recently the 
standard-setting process has nearly come to a halt. Instead, existing stan- 
dards are being "withdrawn for review" which in nearly all cases means 
weakened 

Most standards were adopted in 1970 from recommended guidelines of 
an organization called the American Conference of Government Industnal 
Hygienists (ACGIH). The standards that the ACGIH recommends are ex- 
pressed in terms of threshold limit values (TLVs) When OSHA adopts a 
TLV It becomes a legal limit rather than juot a guideline, and is then called a 
permissible exposure level (PEL) ACGIH updates their standards every 
year, but OSHA has failed to do so mainly because of the cumbersome 
standard-setting process Thus, most OSHA standards are years out of 
date 

For all these reasons, workers should regard OSHA's standards for 
chemicals as minimaL 

The list of chemical standards mav be found in the General Industry 
Standards. Section 1000, tables Z-1 , Z-2, and Z-3 There are three types of 
PELS These are the Time Weighted Average (TWA), the Ceiling Value (C), 
and Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL). These types of PELs are discussed 
in the General Standards just before the Z-tables Read over these pages 
until you have a good understanding of permissible exposure 



ERIC 



Resource List 



A thorough resource h3t plus excellent information on setting up a 
reference library on health and safety, may be found in: Getting the 
Facts by Susan Salisbury, Labor Occupational Health Program. Write 
LOHP, University of California at Berkeley, 2521 Channing Way, Ber- 
keley, CA 94720. 

BOOKS 

1 Vi/ork IS Dangerous to Your Health by Susan Daum, M.D. and Jeanne 
Stellman, Ph D., Vintage Books, N.Y. A good general text for workers 
Includes a section on hazards listed by occupation and a good section on 
stress 

2. Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, 4th ed., by Robert Gosse- 
lin. M D., Ph.D., and others. Williams & Wilkins Co , Baltirr)ore. A reference 
text which has many chemicals listed by trade names Also lists the usual 
ingredients of general products such as glue inks, paint, etc 

3. Industrial Toxicology, 3rd ed., Alice Hamilton, M D. and Harriet Hardy, 
M.D., PSG PL-blishing Co , Inc., Littleton, MA. Detailed information on the 
effects of most common occupational chemicals. 

4 Chemical Hazards of the Workplace, by James Hughes, J.D. and Nick 
Proctor, Ph.D , J B. Lipp.ncott Co., Philadelphia, 1978 A good series of 
articles on the effects of industnal chemicals. More expensive but more 
complete than reference number 1 

5 Occupational Diseases: A Guide to Their Recognition, N lOSH Pub. No 
77-181, Marcus Key, M.D. and others, editors. An inexpensive collection of 
articles on the effects of many common industrial chemicals, as well as 
symptoms and medical treatment 

6. Occupational Health Guidelines for Chumical Hazards, NIOSH Pub 
No. 81-123, Mackison, Stricoff & Partridge, editors Three large loose leaf 
volumes with excellent hazard and precaution information. Write NIOSH, 
Publications Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 
45226 

7. Various publications of NIOSH: Criteria Documents, Current Intelli- 
gence anri other publications on specific chemicals W.ile for a 2-volume 
publications catalog (approximately $25). For address see item 6 



ERIC 



30 



COMPUTER SERVICES 

There are severe computerized information banks on toxic chemicals, 
occupational cancer, etc , available through libraries of medical and public 
health schools, NIOSH and other places They are usually very expensive 
however Recently, the Workers' Institute for Safety and Health (WISH) has 
made most of these sources available at low cost See page 6 of text for 
address and phone 

ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES 

(Sources of factsheets, audio visuals, education and technical assistance) 

1 Chicago Area Committee for Occupational Safety and Health 

(CACOSH) 

542 Dearborn. Room 508, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 929-2104 Publish 
monthly newbleiter often including factsheets, $3 00/year 

2 Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) 

Health Project. 15 Union Square, New York, N Y 10038 (212) 255-7800 
Has developed several pamphlets on organizing for women 

3 Labor Occupational Health Program 

Wide variety of publications on health and safety and other issues Write for 

publications list Address at top of Resource List 

4. Massachusetts Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health 

(MassCOSH) 

120 Boylston Street, Room 206, Boston, MA 021 16 (617) 482-4283 Pub- 
lish bimonthly newsletter, often with fact3heets and other items, $4 00/year 
Write for publications list 

5 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 

For address see item 6 under Books Ask to be placed on their mailing list 
6, OSHA 

Get a publications list from Federal OSHA U S, Department of Labor — 
OSHA, Publications, 200 Constitution Ave , N W , Washington. D C 2021 0 

7 Pcnn State University 

Labor Studies Department, 901 Liberal Arts Tower, University Park, PA 
16802 814-865-5425 Written materials, classes and technical assistance 
available 

8 Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health 

(PHILAPOSH) 

3001 Walnut St., 5th Fir , Philadelphia, PA 19104 (215) 386-7000 Monthly 
newsletter often with factsheets, S5, 00/year Many other publications avail- 
able 



28 

31 



9 University of Wisconsin 

School for Workers. 701 Park-Regent Building. 1 South Park St , Madison. 
Wl 53706 (608) 262-2111 Write for publications list A large variety of 
pamphlets 

10 Western Institute for Occupational and Environmental Sciences 

(WIOES) 

2520 Milvia St , Berkeley, CA 94704 (415) 845-6476 Send for publications 
list Factsheets on many chemicals, emphasis on asbestos and other 
carcinogens 

11 Women's Occupational Health Resource Center 

School of Public Health, Columbia University, 60 Haven Avenue, B-1 . New 
York. N Y 10032 (212) 694-3464 

LABORATORIES 

1 UBTL 

A division of the University of Utah Research Institute. 520 Wakara Way, 
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108 (801) 581-8267 Frequently used by OSHA 

2 Environmental Health Laboratory 

PO. Box 6195, Macon, GA 31208 (800) 841-8919 Advertises 72-hour 
service guarantee and free mailers for samples supplied on request 

3 Biospherics, Inc. 

4928 Wyaconda Road, Rockville, MD 20852 (301) 770-7700 

4 Gannett-McCreath Laboratories 

Environmental Analytical Laboratory, P 0 Box 1963, Harrisburg, PA 17105 
(717) 763-7211 

5 MOS Laboratories 

4418 Pottsville Pike, Reading. PA 19605 (215) 921-9191 

6 University of Cincinnati 

Kettering Laboratory, Analytical Section, 3223 Eden Ave . Cincinnati. OH 
45267 (513) 872-5709 



This material has been funded m whole or in part with fcdeu^l funds from the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration U S Department of Ldbor 
under grarV number ECS3D375 These materials do not riece^sanly reflect the 
views or policies of the U S Department of Labor nor docs mention of trade 
names commencal products or organizations imply endorsement i>y the U S 

government 




Cop'es of this book may be ordered from 
Richard Hindle 
OSHA Project Director 
Penn State University 
Labor Studies Department 
901 Liberal Arts Tower 
University Park. PA 16802 
(814) 865-5425