We recently did some research into hazards related to the Dry cleaning industry  and wanted to share our summary findings in this blog post and hope that you find the information helpful.

Below is a list of common OSHA standards that may be triggered at a dry cleaning facility, depending upon the equipment and work activities.

We have included notes to help clarify each issue.

Potential OSHA StandardsNotes
Air MonitoringDepending on the High Flash solvent in use, there may be PEL limits.  Research shows there is potential exposure during Exposures occur during loading/unloading machines and pressing activities
Respirator programDepending on sampling results.  Includes written program, selection, training and fit testing. Does not include medical survelliance
PPE AssessmentsDepending on the tasks.  There are various high risks, especially to solvent exposures identified in the industry
ErgonomicsIdentified issue in the industry.  Assessments and report on various high risk ergonomic tasks
Hazard CommunicationAll dry cleaners use chemicals, so Hazcom is always applicable.  Need written procedures, labeling system and employee training
Bloodborne PathogenDepending on if they knowing handle blood or OPIM contaminated clothing, or need process for identifying and handling the same
LOTO program and trainingProgram development and training
LOTO ProceduresPer piece of equipment that requires a LOTO procedure.  Estimate is based on 12 pieces of equipment.  Not just washers/dryers but other equipment that may fall under the standard
Fire prevention/Fire extWith high flash solvents, may be needed.  Written program and training
Emergency Action PlanWritten plans and training
ForkliftOnly if applicable
Loading docks/pallet jacksOnly if applicable
Hoists/mechanical handlingOnly if applicable
Machine guarding/Tool useRelated to any mechanical handling such as bagging, hanging, pressing, repairs/alterations, etc

Other notes and findings:

For facilities that use High Flash solvents, OSHA does have Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs).  Studies showed that exposures mainly occur during load/unloading machines.  Air sampling would be needed depending on the chemicals they are using.  If overexposed, then Respiratory would kick in.

Bloodborne Pathogens program may be needed if they clean clothing that could have blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM).  This would be focused on hospitals, medical or dental clinics, police or EMS services.  If so, a Bloodborne Pathogen program would be required.  There are two LOI’s related to this topic for dry cleaners.

Ergonomics is another issue that was discussed in the research, especially during loading and unloading of machines in large facilities.

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