From: Allen Niemi <anniemi**At_Symbol_Here**MTU.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 4 more MSDS and GHS
Date: January 27, 2012 2:14:37 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <21333515.3139451327691509601.JavaMail.root**At_Symbol_Here**>

Just as an aside, I don't doubt that the annealing furnace was filled with hydrogen but I sure wouldn't call it an inert gas. Flammable or explosive would be a better description. It's used in that type of application to keep the hot metal from oxidizing and even clean up existing oxidation and must be handled with extreme caution.

Allen Niemi, PhD
Occupational Safety and Health Services
Rm 322 Lakeshore Center
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, Michigan 49931
Office: 906-487-2118
Fax: 906-487-3048

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Wright" <mwright**At_Symbol_Here**USW.ORG>
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:35:48 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 4 more MSDS and GHS

RCF is ubiquitous in industrial plants which use hot processes, and despite the ACGIH TLV, there's no specific OSHA standard. That's because it's almost impossible for OSHA to promulgate a health standard through the incredibly labor-intensive and time-consuming process we have.


Instead, RCFs and all other miscellaneous particulates without specific standards are considered "nuisance dusts," with a PEL of 5 mg/m3 (respirable).. As in - cancer is a hell of a nuisance.


We try to educate people about it, and we try to put a stop to the worst work practices, but it's an uphill battle. I once saw a company use an RCF gasket to seal a box-annealing furnace, which is a large cylindrical box lofted by a crane and set down over stacked steel coils. The box is filled with an inert gas - usually hydrogen - and heated. The process affects the grain structure of the steel. When the process was complete the hydrogen was evacuated; the box was lifted; and the now-friable RCF gasketing was blown out with compressed air, exposing everyone in the shop.  


Michael J. Wright

Director of Health, Safety and Environment

United Steelworkers

5 Gateway Center

Pittsburgh, PA 15222


Work (412) 562-2580

Cell     (412) 370-0105

Fax     (412) 562-2584




Visit us on the web at


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