We have assessed the safety of various work places and working conditions, examining exposures to airborne gases and vapors, respiratory irritants, allergens, microorganisms, and radioactive materials. We have worked closely with medical officers for unions and management alike, and have advised worker-protection agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.
For a state Department of Public Health laboratory, we conducted an extensive assessment of radiological safety. We analyzed the laboratory's rules, procedures, and documentation regarding radioactive materials handling and disposal, worker training, and contamination testing, and checked the inventory against the state's radioactive material possession limits. We used our findings to make recommendation for improving the laboratory's inventory methods. In particular, we recommended an inventory system that would: a) check-in and track new and existing sources (physical inventory), including the creation of new standards from existing stocks; b) calculate decays and daughter ingrowth over time and identify sources that should be disposed; and c) allow handling of mixtures and create automatic, accurate summaries of all radionuclides, their physical forms, and their radioactivity levels at any time. We also assessed public health risks from radiation doses that would result from various worst-case scenarios.
Cluster of cancer at a worksite
A seemingly unusual fraction of workers at a large mail-handling facility had been diagnosed with cancers of various types. We conducted interviews, reviewed (in association with a physician) medical records and related information, researched and assimilated the relevant scientific and medical literature, and performed statistical analyses. We determined that, based on the size and age-structure of the cohort, the observed incidence of cancer was in accord with expectations. We met with employees and management to present and explain our findings.
Asphalt worker safety
For more than a dozen years, we have worked with industry associations, union-representatives, and researchers in the U.S. and Europe to assess and improve the safety of asphalt-working and production of hot-mix asphalt. Our work has involved assessing exposures to asphalt fumes, evaluating the feasibility of various investigations, and reviewing the results of numerous toxicologic and epidemiologic studies. We have also contributed to evaluations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with regard to asphalt fume mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, and related health issues. We have extended this work to evaluate ambient air quality, and health-risks, at and near existing or proposed asphalt production facilities.
Railroad worker safety
We have assessed air quality, working conditions, chemical exposures, and possible health-risks posed to railroad workers. We have evaluated data-sets, toxicologic and epidemiologic literature, and other information pertinent to conductors, engineers, brakemen, roundhouse workers, sheet-metal workers, welders, electricians, watchmen, maintenance workers, and general laborers. The exposures of interest have involved diesel engine exhaust, carbon monoxide, herbicides, and volatile organic chemicals and mixtures such as benzene, chlorinated solvents, mineral spirits, and diesel oil.
Safety of metal working fluids
Metal working fluids are widely used to cool metal-surfaces during cutting and other machining. We have been involved in the assessment of chemical and microbiological exposures associated with the use of these fluids. We have also evaluated the epidemiologic and medical literature regarding cases and clusters of hypersensitivity pneumonitis or other respiratory diseases or symptoms among groups of metal workers.