Cinnaminson, NJ, June 9th, 2020
Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that a carpet restoration, plumbing and resurfacing contractor based in Georgia was facing over $180,000 in fines for exposing employees to safety and health hazards after a fatal incident.
OSHA initiated the investigation after an employee of the company suffered fatal injuries after inhaling lacquer thinner, which was used to resurface a bathtub. OSHA cited the company for failing to evaluate the chemical wash cleaning task and determine workers’ level of exposure to the lacquer thinner. The agency also cited the company for improperly labeling mixtures used to clean and resurface bathtubs and countertops and exposing employees to a concentration of toluene several times above permissible exposure limits (PELs). In addition, OSHA cited the company for not performing a personal protective equipment (PPE) assessment and using respirators properly.
Toluene (C7H8) is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is widely used in a number of industrial processes. It is a clear, colorless liquid with a strong, sweet and pungent odor that occurs naturally in crude oil. It is also produced in the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil and making coke from coal. Toluene is used to make numerous products, including paints, paint thinners, fingernail polish, spot removers, lacquers, adhesives, rubber, antifreeze, and even in some printing and leather tanning processes.
“Exposure to low to moderate levels of toluene can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Exposure to high levels can result in unconsciousness and even death. As stated by OSHA, the amount of toluene that a worker breathes over a work day is determined by the concentration in air and the length of time the worker is in that atmosphere. Enforceable limits in the United States for the concentration in air have been established.”
EMSL Analytical, Inc.’s industrial hygiene experts offer laboratory testing services, sampling supplies and PPE. EMSL has even sponsored an educational video about toluene exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/qcwtP1TOIME.
To learn more about toluene testing or other industrial hygiene, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella
, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com
for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.