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Monitoring Pel Electronic Assembly Plant

In: Social Issues

Submitted By hafiz9877
Words 2126
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1. Exposure to substances or mixtures in the workplace can occur through inhalation, absorption through the skin or ingestion. Most exposure occurs through the inhalation of vapours, dusts, fumes or gases. For some substances, absorption through the skin may also be a significant source of exposure. The response of the body from exposure to substances and mixtures depends on the nature of the substance, the health effects it can cause and the amount of the substance or mixture absorbed by the body. The extent to which the worker is exposed depends on the concentration of the substance or mixture in the air, the amount of time the worker is exposed and the effectiveness of controls. Substances or mixtures may cause immediate acute health effects or it may be decades before the effects on the body become evident.

2. Exposure standards are established for approximately 700 substances and mixtures. However, there are many other substances and mixtures that are hazardous to human health and that are used in workplaces but do not have an exposure standard. The airborne concentration of any substance or mixture that is hazardous to health must be kept as low as reasonably practicable to minimise the risk to health, regardless of whether there is an exposure standard. Information about the hazards of a chemical should be available from the label or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) either MSDS or CSDS for most substances or mixtures.

Table 1: Exposure Limit of Substance

3. In this research, discussion will be more detail on the soldering fume effects in general and the plan of conducting personal exposure monitoring of 100 workers exposed to solder fumes in an electronic component assembly plant.

4. Manufacturers of flux usually point out that inhaling flux fumes, created when flux is heated to soldering temperatures, will cause irritation to nose, throat and respiratory organs. Health authorities also state that extended or repeated exposure to rosin flux may cause hypersensitivity and substance to occupational asthma. The base product found in conventional flux is called colophony. Colophony is the translucent amber collared rosin obtained when turpentine is distilled from the resin of pine trees. Colophony has been widely used in soldering processes for many years.

5. Colophony is a mixture of approximately 90% resin acid, mostly abiotic acid with 10% neutral material such as stilbenederivatives, and different kinds of hydrocarbons. When flux is heated, airborne products are generated including aliphatic aldehydes such as formaldehyde. Most fluxes are also composed of organic amine hydrochloride, an activator helping to clean the soldering area. When heated, it releases hydrochloric acid and other gases containing benzene, toluene, styrene, phenol, chlorophenol and isopropyl alcohol. Based on previous studies that have been made on workers in the electronic industry, mostly in the United States, and England. These studies show that at least 20% of the employees working in the soldering area show clinical symptoms of asthma caused by the work environment. These symptoms are characterized by coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest pain. The conclusion of these studies is that colophony fumes are the main cause of the illness and employee turnover in occupations related to soldering.

6. Allergic hypersensitivity is common in soldering occupations. Hypersensitivity to flux fumes and their symptoms is usually developed from a period of a few months up to 16 years. The average period before the symptoms are developed is four years. Hypersensitivity of colophony is gradually indicated by wheezing and laboured breathing. These symptoms are much more common by long duration of employment and they can even continue many years after the person has finished with this occupation. Eye and nose irritation is quite common, due to the fact that when flux is heated, the fumes from hydrochloric acid create a strong slime that causes irritation. Furthermore, there are reports showing that colophony may cause airborne contact skin diseases. This is attributed to many components in the flux, such as amino ethyl-ethanolamine and hydrazine that are harmful to the skin.

Table 2: TLV for VOC in Soldering Fumes

7. Colophony fumes are known to cause:

a. Occupational Asthma.

b. Chronic Bronchitis.

c. Chemical Hypersensitivity.

d. Chest Pain.

e. Headaches & Dizziness.

f. Eye and Nose Irritation.

g. Skin diseases.


8. In order to implement a monitoring program for workers, must be known and clearly understand in advance in respect of the duties and responsibilities of each individual involved in the organization. The following are the duties and responsibilities of each group of individuals in an organization of workers monitored for exposure to soldering fumes:

a. Employer.

(1) Ensure the proper use of any control measures provided such as local extraction ventilation.

(2) Properly maintain all control measures provided in efficient working order and monitor their effectiveness. In particular, extraction ventilation systems must be examined and tested at least every 14 months and should be regularly inspected by a responsible person on site for defects. Appropriate records should be kept.

(3) Where necessary, provide personal protective equipment which is suitable for use and appropriate to the job, but only as a last resort when prevention of exposure or adequate control by other means are not reasonably practicable.

(4) Provide adequate washing facilities.

b. Employee/workers.

(1) Follow instructions on safe working practices given by the employers, including the correct use and adjustment of control measures such as local extraction ventilation. Report defects in any enclosures, extraction equipment, protective equipment or other control measures to your employer.

(2) Avoid skin contact with rosin-based solder fluxes, but if this occurs, ash with soap and water as soon as possible. A simple skin conditioning cream may be used after washing and drying.

(3) Take part in health checks, which are part of the required health surveillance programmes. Report symptoms of respiratory or skin complaints to an occupational health doctor or nurse if there is one.


9. When working with soldering process in the workplace, the employer must measure the amount of substance in the air for a representative number of employees who are reasonably believed to have the highest exposure levels. The employer must conduct personal air monitoring for each job classification and (at a minimum) the shift with the highest exposure level. The monitoring must be performed while employees perform tasks that are representative of their normal tasks and responsibilities. The purpose of this initial determination is to find out whether airborne substance levels are at or above the Action Level.

10. The employer must collect full-shift, personal samples in the employee’s breathing zone. Depending on the results of the initial determination, employers may have additional responsibilities. If the initial determination is less than the AL, no further assessment is needed. However, a written record need to be make of how arrived at the determination. If there is a determination that exposure levels are at or above the AL, personal air monitoring must be repeated at least every six months for a representative number of employees. If personal air monitoring shows that airborne substance levels are above the AL for more than 30 days per year, the employer must provide a pre-placement medical exam and biological monitoring every six months for each employee that will be exposed to substance. If the initial determination is at or above the PEL, the employer must reduce employee exposure below the PEL.

11. In addition, personal air monitoring must be done quarterly. If personal air monitoring shows that airborne substance levels are above the PEL for more than 30 days per year, the employer must implement all feasible engineering, work practice, and administrative controls to reduce air substance levels to below the PEL. When all feasible controls are in place and are still insufficient to reduce air substance levels below the PEL, respirators must be used to reduce employee exposure so that no employee is exposed above the PEL on any day.

12. The employer must develop and implement a plan to reduce air substance levels to or below the PEL. This plan must be in writing and must be reviewed and updated at least every six months. At a minimum requirement, the plan must include:

a. Description of each operation in which substance is emitted.

b. Description of the specific means that will be used to achieve compliance.

c. Report of the technology considered in meeting the PEL.

d. Air monitoring data that documents the source of substance emissions.

e. Detailed schedule for implementation of the program.

f. Work practice program.

g. Administrative control (job rotation) schedule, if applicable.

13. If there is a change of equipment, process, control, personnel or a new task has been initiated which could increase the concentration of substance in the air, retest must be made to make a new determination. The employer must notify each employee in writing of the results of personal air monitoring that represents the employee’s exposure within 5 working days of receiving the results. If air substance levels are above the PEL, the employer must also include a written notice telling employees that the air substance levels exceeded the PEL and describing the corrective action the employer has taken or will take to reduce exposure to or below the PEL.

14. Air monitoring measures the amount of substance dust and fumes in the air of the employees breathe. Air monitoring is an important tool that can show:

a. Whether operation and work methods are creating too much airborne substance or not. The results of air monitoring will help to determine whether need to initiate or improve engineering, work practices or administrative controls designed to reduce airborne substance exposure. After the changes has been made, air monitoring will help determine whether these changes have been effective at reducing airborne substance levels.

b. Whether it was compliance with the OSHA legal exposure limits for substance or not.

15. To perform air monitoring, a worker wears a small battery-powered air pump on the waist that is connected by tubing to a filter cassette attached at the collar. The pump pulls air from the worker’s “breathing zone” and the dust and fumes in this air are collected on the filter. The filter is sent to an analytical laboratory, which measures the amount of substance collected on the filter. A calculation is then done to estimate the average amount of airborne substance each worker was exposed to during the shift.


16. Health surveillance is one of requirement where it is appropriate for the protection of the health of employees. It is particularly important where there is a risk of occupational asthma, since detection of early symptoms can prevent the development of asthma. Any problems revealed by health surveillance may also indicate failures in control measures or unsuitable working practices.

17. The need for and type of health surveillance required for those people exposed to rosin-based solder flux fume will be determined by the risk assessment. It will require supervision by an occupational health designated person. For many soldering operations, high-level surveillance will be appropriate. This should consist of:

a. A questionnaire for identifying relevant symptoms, completed six and 12 weeks after starting work involving exposure to rosin-based solder flux fume, and at yearly intervals afterwards.

b. Measurement of baseline lung function (peak flow and simple spirometer) at the same intervals.

c. Arrangements for relevant symptoms to be reported to a responsible person without delay.

18. It also recommends that a pre-employment assessment involving a respiratory questionnaire and the taking of a detailed work history, together with baseline lung function measurements. A lower level of health surveillance may be recommended by an occupational health designated person where there is good evidence of control or when work is very intermittent. Some degree of health surveillance will always be necessary. A health surveillance programme may also need to include skin inspections where the assessment shows that risks of dermatitis are significant. Typically, enquiries about skin complaints and inspections of exposed skin, mainly hands, forearms and face, by a responsible person at about monthly intervals may be appropriate.


19. The main purpose of monitoring is to keep a check on the control measures that have been put in place. Personal monitoring (measuring individual exposure) can show whether controls such as ventilation are working effectively, or if maintenance or further controls are necessary. Employers must not allow their personal be exposed to hazardous substance in greater amounts than allowable standard.

20. In order to protect the workers safety and health and the company productivity, every single person in the company must know clearly and play their own role and responsibility to make sure the safety and health issue must be catered firmly and compulsory applied.…...

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