Furniture Refinishing Case Study

For this module assignment, you are asked to develop a compliance sampling strategy for a furniture refinishing company. In the assignment scenario, this company specializes in stripping old paint and varnish off hardwood furniture, sanding and repairing the wood, and then staining and varnishing the final product. In a preliminary walk-through visit, you note the following operations and activities:

Paint Stripping: There are five workers working in this area. Four of them use a methylene chloride-containing product to rapidly remove the old paint and varnish. The product is put onto rags and hand-applied to the furniture. One worker is a “helper,” providing tools and equipment to the other four workers.

Sanding: This area has four workers. Three of the workers use power-sanding tools to do the majority of the sanding. One worker does the final touches by hand sanding the furniture with fine sand paper.

Staining and Varnishing: In this area, two workers stain the furniture and two workers apply the varnish. The workers use brushes to apply the stains and varnish. The stain is comprised of 35% 2-butoxyethanol, 35% ethyl alcohol, 2% xylene, 1% ethyl benzene, with the balance of the mixture containing non-regulated materials. The varnish contains 45% Stoddard solvent, 20% ethyl alcohol, 2% xylene, 1% ethyl benzene, with the balance of the mixture containing non-regulated materials.

No particular ventilation system is observed. Only a window unit air conditioner and an electrical space heater are present. Workers do the stripping in one corner of the building, while others do the staining and varnishing next to that work area, but not in a separate room. Sanders are kept in a separate room to keep the dust away from the final varnishing step.

All workers work from 8 am – 5 pm with a one-hour lunch break. The employer has provided a separate area away from the work space for breaks and lunch.

The employer wants to keep costs low, but ensure regulatory compliance. In your development of an appropriate sampling strategy, be sure to review the assigned reading and resources, and address the following issues.

For what contaminants will you sample? Will you perform area or personal monitoring or both? What is/are the appropriate sampling method(s)? Can sampling for multiple contaminants occur on the same sampling device or collection media? What equipment and/or sampling media is needed?

In order to keep the employer costs down, but provide an appropriate and thorough exposure assessment, which employees will be sampled and for what? Why?

What questions might you ask the employer to determine which day or days you propose to collect these samples? Can/should all sampling occur on the same day?

Your write-up should follow current APA formatting style for references, and in-text citations. Use APA format. At least three pages are required, not including the reference page and title page. Table of contents and abstract are not needed.

Expert Solution Preview

Introduction:

In this module assignment, we are required to develop a compliance sampling strategy for a furniture refinishing company. The scenario involves observing the operations and activities of the company, which specializes in stripping old paint and varnish off hardwood furniture, sanding and repairing the wood, and then staining and varnishing the final product. Our task is to determine the appropriate sampling strategy to ensure regulatory compliance while keeping the employer’s costs low.

1. For what contaminants will you sample? Will you perform area or personal monitoring or both? What is/are the appropriate sampling method(s)? Can sampling for multiple contaminants occur on the same sampling device or collection media? What equipment and/or sampling media is needed?

We will sample for airborne contaminants that the workers may be exposed to while performing their tasks. Given that the workers in the paint stripping area use a methylene chloride-containing product, we will sample for methylene chloride. We will also sample for 2-butoxyethanol and Stoddard solvent used in the stain and varnish, respectively.

To determine the level of exposure, we will perform personal monitoring for all workers involved in the operations and activities. However, since the work is conducted in a confined space with no particular ventilation system, we will also perform area monitoring to assess the potential for exposure of workers nearby.

The appropriate sampling method for methylene chloride and 2-butoxyethanol is charcoal tube sampling. For Stoddard solvent, we will use a passive dosimeter. Sampling for multiple contaminants can occur on the same sampling device or collection media.

The equipment and sampling media needed include a sampling pump calibrated to a flow rate of 200-400 ml/min, charcoal tubes, and passive dosimeters. We will also need a thermometer and hygrometer for recording temperature and humidity.

2. In order to keep the employer costs down, but provide an appropriate and thorough exposure assessment, which employees will be sampled and for what? Why?

To keep the employer costs low, we will sample a representative number of workers performing the tasks. We will sample the four workers in the paint stripping area, the three workers using power-sanding tools, and the two workers applying the stain and varnish. We will also sample the “helper” in the paint stripping area since they are in close proximity to the other workers.

We will sample these workers to determine their level of exposure to the airborne contaminants present in the workplace. By sampling representative workers performing each task, we can ensure an appropriate and thorough exposure assessment for the company.

3. What questions might you ask the employer to determine which day or days you propose to collect these samples? Can/should all sampling occur on the same day?

To determine which day or days to collect the samples, we will need to ask the employer about the usual work schedule of the workers and if there are any specific work schedules or tasks that may result in higher exposures to the contaminants of concern. We will also inquire if there have been any recent changes in the tasks or products used that may affect the exposure levels of the workers.

All sampling can occur on the same day since the workers perform their tasks concurrently. However, we may choose to sample on different days to represent different work shifts to obtain a more representative sample of the workers’ exposure.

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