One air inhalation hazard I observed during the Mirror Lab tour was for rhodite 906. In a large open room and workspace, the mirror lab utilized rhodite frequently to polish large new mirrors. This is concerning because this is a hazardous dust particle with its particle size at about 1.5 micrometers. The movement of these particles are heighted by water mist placed above the mirror to keep the rhodite from solidifying. The employees also sprayed down the mirror frequently which further caused these particles to move around. When we were walking beneath and to the side of the mirror, orange rhodite compound could be seen on the sides of the mirror as well as the ground. The employer’s job was to make sure the mirror was properly and consistently being polished.
This definitely can poise a threat and safety risks to the workers. As a risk assessor, it is essential to decrease exposure and limit the spread of rhodite 906. Hazardous chemicals such as rhodite can cause harm when they enter the body in sufficient amounts via inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. The nature of the chemical hazard and the routes by which it enters determine the controls needed. Unfortunately, I did not observe such controls in the workplace. There were no material safety data sheets visible or chemical hazard warnings. The employer simply wore a lab coat while visitors were only asked to wear closed toed shoes. There were no guidelines, PEL, or TLVs given by OSHA. However, the material safety date(which should be posted) explains that it can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Moreover, compounds that it has such as cerium have low toxicity. People can come into contact most easily by inhalation. In order to quantify the amount of air exposure, I would employ biological monitoring for the employers who monitor the polishing. The levels of chemicals in the body can sometimes be measured in the blood, urine, or exhaled air. The results would...
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