NIOSH Evaluates Metalworking Fluids Exposures, Office Hazards

Published September 26, 2012

In two new health hazard evaluations released Sept. 20, NIOSH evaluated employee exposures to metalworking fluids (MWFs) at an aircraft engine manufacturing facility and evaluated concerns about visual and neurological symptoms among employees monitoring television displays at a video hub office.

NIOSH responded to concerns about possible health hazards from a new formulation of a semisynthetic MWF at an aircraft engine manufacturing facility in Ohio. During two site visits to the facility, NIOSH took air samples for MWFs, reviewed the MWF maintenance and training programs, and assessed the work practices and engineering controls in place. NIOSH personnel found that airborne MWF concentrations were below applicable occupational exposure limits but found that some employees did not use proper engineering controls, such as splash guards, when working with MWFs. Read about NIOSH’s recommendations in the full report, “Metalworking Fluid Exposure at an Aircraft Engine Manufacturing Facility – Ohio.”

At a New York video hub office, NIOSH responded to another union request to evaluate concerns that excessive visual stimuli at work were contributing to employees’ visual and neurological symptoms, such as eyestrain and headache. NIOSH personnel interviewed employees, evaluated workplace conditions, measured viewing distances from desktop workstations to wall monitors, and reviewed employees’ medical records. NIOSH ultimately made several ergonomic and procedural recommendations to the employer to help improve the work environment and reduce employees’ symptoms. The full report is available on NIOSH’s website.

View more NIOSH HHE reports on the agency's website.