Lesson Learned Statement:Always perform a complete pre-use inspection before donning your respirator. If you smell an irritating odor coming from the respirator, reseal it along with the laundry date tag in the bag it came in, and turn it over to your Industrial Hygiene and Safety (IH&S) representative.
Discussion:Several decommissioning workers in the Building 707/776/777 Closure Project at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (RFETS) recently encountered full-face respirators that reeked of a strong, irritating odor. At this time source of the odors is under investigation. The description and initial testing indicate that it may be formaldehyde or a similar chemical.
Analysis:Site Respiratory Protection Advisory Committee members, including Steelworkers Union and K-H Occupational Safety and Industrial Hygiene representatives have gone to the off-site laundering facility to investigate how site respirators are washed, handled and distributed to find the source of the odor. The members have concluded that the potential chemical irritating odor may be associated with a specific lot of Mine Safety Appliance (MSA) high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) canisters. The suspect canisters are identified with lot number 3201 on the canister. Approximately sixty full-face respirators have been removed from service pending further analyses and additional discussions with the manufacturer.
Recommended Actions:RFETS Industrial Hygiene representatives have been asked to check their inventories and remove any respirators with this lot number. If you have questions regarding this issue, please contact our Site Respiratory Protection Program Administrator, Douglas Herrick at (303) 966-5470.
Originator:James McLaughlin, Sr. (303) 966-3471
Contact:Douglas Herrick (303) 966-5470
Name Of Authorized Derivative Classifier:Richard Norman (303) 966-8297
Name Of Reviewing Official:Kenneth E. Green (303) 966-5689
Priority Descriptor:Yellow / Caution
Keywords:Odor, Respirator, Filter
References:Occurrence Report: RFO--KHLL-SITEWIDE-2001-000
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DOE Function / Work Categories:Occupational Safety & Health - Personnel Protective Equipment
ISM Category:Analyze Hazards
Hazard:Personal Injury / Exposure - Hazardous Material (General)
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