NIOSH received a confidential employee request for an HHE at the Huntington Coach Corporation bus repair and body shops, Huntington Station, New York, in November 2006. Employees were concerned that exposures to cleaning solvents, paint vapors, diesel exhaust, and asbestos-containing brake dust were causing skin rashes and respiratory irritation. The request also mentioned possible safety hazards including ignition sources near flammable liquids and use of unsafe vehicle jack stands. On March 15, 2007, we conducted an evaluation that included an opening meeting with management and union representatives, a walk-through survey of the facility’s 4th Avenue body shop and 5th Avenue maintenance shop, observations of work practices and PPE use, employee exposure and health assessments, an assessment of building ventilation and potential solvent exposure, and confidential employee interviews. We also collected bulk samples of brake pad pieces and dust samples from the brake rotor lathe and the brake drums and wheels of buses being serviced. We found fiberglass and cellulose in the bulk samples of dust and brake shoes and pads, but no asbestos. In the 5th Avenue maintenance shop, connections between vehicle exhaust pipes and flexible exhaust hoses were loose, and the flexible hoses often did not extend to the outdoors. In the 4th Avenue body shop, a poorly ventilated flammable liquid storage cabinet was overfilled. Two brake cleaners used by the maintenance shop contained tetrachloroethylene, a potential carcinogen. One employee had contact dermatitis that may have been work related. We recommend tightening connections between exhaust pipes and flexible exhaust hoses and increasing the length of the flexible hoses so they extend outdoors to reduce diesel exhaust exposure within the maintenance shop. We recommend using brake cleaners that do not contain tetrachloroethylene and continuing use of brake shoes and pads that contain no asbestos. The flammable liquid storage cabinet should be ventilated and relocated away from potential ignition sources. Huntington Coach should provide nitrile rubber gloves instead of latex gloves to reduce skin contact with fiberglass, grease, and solvents. We recommend that the company ensure that their written respiratory protection program conforms to OSHA requirements and a no-smoking policy is enforced. Employees should be encouraged to report potentially work-related health problems to their supervisors so that workplace problems can be addressed.
Region-2; Solvents; Solvent-vapors; Diesel-exhausts; Diesel-emissions; Exhaust-gases; Asbestos-dust; Asbestos-fibers; Automotive-emissions; Automotive-exhausts; Automobile-repair-shops; Skin-irritants; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Personal-protective-equipment; Fibrous-glass; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems