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Oven/Heat Exposure Limits

Oven/Heat Exposure Limits

Oven/Heat Exposure Limits

Since the installation of a large forced-air convection oven in the plant we've been concerned with the amount and temperature of heat the employees are exposed to every time they open the door to the oven. The frequency of opening and closing the door is every 30-60 seconds, and the maximum temperature set point is 250°F. However, the circulation fan in the oven remains on when the door is opened.

There are numerous Engineering controls that can be applied to minimize the blow of hot air on the face of the employee while opening the door. However, I'm looking for some source of code that talks about heat/temperature exposure limits, applied to direct oven heat and NOT ambient plant heat.

I've done extensive searches and talked to the local OSHA people; all hint that there is no local or federal code for exposure to heat, other than the fact that all employers are bound to give their employees a safe and healthy work environment. ANSI Z117-1 (working in confined spaces) does not cover this topic.

My question... Ignoring the comfort level, what temperature is considered unhealthy or unsafe without Personal Protective gear? It sounds more like a medical question, but if anyone has experience with ovens and furnaces, please give me a hint where to find some guidelines in this matter.

For example, I've heard that "too much heat, causes lung damage". Any truth to this?


RE: Oven/Heat Exposure Limits


You need to consult with an Industrial Hygeine specialist for a qualified answer. I faced a similar issue - and the PPE our IH guy wanted me to wear would have caused more stress on me than being unprotected - well at my normal level of PPE (overalls, gloves, hard hat, etc.) anyway. I persuaded him simply by drawing an analogy to a sauna. People routinely go into saunas approaching 100°C. For an extreme, take a look at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/08/02/offbeat.sauna.championship.ap/


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