A medium sized automotive manufacturer needed to evaluate its workplace for chemical hazards associated with worker exposure. As a result, an Major OHSAS 18001 non-compliance finding on the issue. The facility had conducted some industrial hygiene testing in the past, but it was limited in scope and focused solely on one department. The company at the time had over 500 MSDS/SDS’s on file. Also over the last several years, several workers have reported respiratory issues, and at present, there was a pending WSIB decision regarding an employee claim of occupational asthma.
EKG was hired to assess the entire site to develop a chemical hazard inventory, establish a baseline monitoring requirement, and recommend actions to improve the overall chemical safety program at the site.
The process involved the development of a comprehensive industrial hygiene database tool (chemical management inventory). The sortable database allowed the user to quickly identify products and chemical contaminants that affected any particular department and or individual occupation. The database also rated the degree of risk based on controls (observed by EKG) in place, the frequency of exposure, and incident history statistics. From this, a baseline industrial hygiene survey performed for high risk and select other chemical constituents. The results identified a range of findings, where some contaminants were deemed not likely to cause harm (<25% of OEL) up to contaminants over their respective OEL’s.
The results aided in identifying where controls were effective, where additional engineering controls were needed, and or the use of PPE and administrative controls.
The results aided in identifying where controls were effective, where additional engineering controls were needed, and or the use of PPE and administrative controls. The survey also identified information that aided the facility in their WSIB occupational asthma claim position.
The OHSAS auditor on his review of the corrective actions commented that the program developed was one of the best systems he had seen.