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BNSF attempts to monitor, modify workplace air quality

To better ensure workplace air quality, Burlington Northern Santa Fe recently trained 13 safety assistants — now qualified as industrial hygiene facilitators — to operate high-tech air pumps and obtain air samples that would be sent to outside testing laboratories.
Facilitators for an entire shift wear a small pump, about the size of a portable radio, on their belt. The pump is attached to a hose, through which fumes travel to a cartridge designed to collect and record air-element levels.
The cartridge then is sent to an independent lab, which analyzes fume data and reports back to BNSF's industrial hygiene division within its medical department, said Dennis Bullock, BNSF manager, industrial hygiene, in a statement prepared April 4.
BNSF plans to have the 13 facilitators conduct air tests one full day each month in various locations.
The testing procedure joins BNSF's other current air-quality measures, such as source-vac fume systems designed to draw in fumes, and pump them outside and away from employees, and on-site respirators.

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More News from 4/10/2002