New NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Reports Now Available

Three new health hazard evaluation reports are available from NIOSH:


  • Evaluation of exposure to welding fumes. NIOSH investigators responded to an employee request to assess whether smoke from plasma cutting and welding was associated with employee complaints of sore throat, runny nose, eye irritation, coughing, migraines, and vomiting. The findings suggested that exposures to metal fumes, carbon monoxide, and ozone did not exceed applicable occupational exposure limits. To address irritant symptoms, however, the NIOSH investigators made recommendations to improve general ventilation and hazard communication training. The full report is available at


  • Evaluation of ergonomic factors at a building products distribution facility. NIOSH investigators responded to a management request to address concerns about ergonomic aspects associated with the lifting of materials when filling customer orders. The evaluation indicated that workers generally used good practices, such as positioning themselves to avoid reaching across pallets while lifting, and adjusting the height of storage and delivery pallets. However, the evaluation found a risk of musculoskeletal injuries when factors such as the weight of objects being lifted were assessed through the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation and other criteria. Recommendations, including using lifting devices and reducing the weights of bundled building materials, were made to reduce the risk of injury. The full report is available at


  • Evaluation of mold exposure at a marine terminal. NIOSH investigators responded to requests from managers of a cruise line and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, operating at a marine terminal. The requests concerned possible health problems related to mold exposure. Employees in the marine terminal had higher rates of respiratory complaints than employees from a nearby, non-contaminated facility. The NIOSH investigators made numerous recommendations, including recommendations to install vapor barriers between interior and exterior walls, seal holds in the building envelope, evaluate engineering options to stop water from entering the building, improve ventilation, conduct routine maintenance, and seek evaluation and care from an experienced occupational medicine physician. The full report is available at

Printed from NIOSH eNews – August 2006

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