NV5 conducted noise dosimetry and air monitoring at a food ingredient processing plant in Washington State. At this facility, a raw agricultural base product is brought in to the plant as a liquid or powder, flowed through the facility for various cleaning processes, dried and packaged, and then stored in an on-site warehouse prior to distribution. The purpose of this assessment was to evaluate the facility’s compliance with state regulations, as well as the threshold limit values (TLVs) established by American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists for applicable workplace contaminants. The client also sought our recommendations on possible control measures, including personal protective equipment. This was the second time this client had requested our industrial hygiene support.
After a walk-through of the facility to confirm our sampling plan, an NV5 Certified Industrial Hygienist conducted personal noise dosimetry for five workers, area sound level monitoring at 27 different locations around the plant, employee breathing zone dust sampling (real-time), personal and area sampling for acetic acid in the plant’s tank farm, and personal and area monitoring for phosphorus oxychloride, hydrogen chloride, and phosphoric acid during a simulated drum change-out. NV5 calibrated and provided the appropriate equipment for the on-site survey, which was conducted over the course of one business day. At the end of the survey, we packaged and sent the samples to a certified laboratory for processing. When the data was received by NV5, it was analyzed by the NV5 Certified Industrial Hygienist and a report was prepared for the client. To ensure quality, a second NV5 Certified Industrial Hygienist provided a peer review of the report.
In our report to the client, we noted that none of the five personnel noise assessments exceeded the OSHA Action Level; however, since there were high noise sources found within the facility, we recommended that the client continue to provide hearing protection to its workers and consider its use mandatory. We also recommended the client evaluate possible engineering and administrative controls to decrease sound levels within the facility.