Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Protecting Workers in the Recycling and Reuse Industries from Occupational Exposure Risks

Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Clark Seif Clark provides industrial hygiene testing, consulting and training services to identify, mitigate and prevent exposure risks to chemical and biological hazards.

Chatsworth, CA, January 6th, 2020 -- While there is no federal law that mandates recycling, many states and municipalities have introduced recycling requirements over the past several decades. Some states and cities have even enacted landfill bans on certain recyclable items and yard waste, and in some areas, government entities can fine people for including recyclable materials with garbage waste.

 

The end result of these efforts, public awareness campaigns and the growing green movement, has been a dramatic increase in the millions of tons of materials recycled from residential, commercial and industrial sources. This has created tens of thousands of jobs in the recycling and reuse industries, but many of these jobs come with unique exposure risks.

 

In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports these jobs can be dangerous. According to OSHA, this is in part due to the fact that certain materials that are recycled or reused, such as scrap metal, electronics, batteries, used oil and other chemicals, have materials that directly pose hazards to workers. Hazardous exposure risks could include inhalation of ammonia and other refrigerants, capacitors containing PCBs, mercury, asbestos, synthetic mineral fibers, dioxins, lead, cadmium, nickel and other toxic metals. Workers could also be exposed to a myriad of other hazardous chemicals, combustible dusts and even components containing radioactive materials.

 

“Another concern is employees working in hazardous environments,” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “For example, OSHA states that composting and other activities to recycle organic material can create hazardous environments which can be fatal to workers who are not aware of the potential dangers. These may include respiratory hazards such as exposure to hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide or other gases that may displace oxygen. Other inhalation risks include exposure to mold and particulate matter (PM). Over time this could cause or exacerbate occupational asthma, allergies, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) and other respiratory conditions in workers.”

 

Dedicated to protecting workers in these and other industries are the industrial hygiene professionals at Clark Seif Clark. Their experts identify hazards and exposure risks to a wide range of substances. CSC offers worksite assessments, inspections, testing, air monitoring and provides training services on work practices, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE). CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about potential occupational exposure risks at recycling centers and reuse facilities that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/m4HY_bFhIWQ 

 

To learn more about this or other occupational, indoor air quality, environmental, health, and safety testing and training services, please visit www.csceng.com, email csc@csceng.com or call (800) 807-1118. 

 

About Clark Seif Clark

CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.