Packaging Line Capabilities

Health Risks and Safety Guidelines

Enzymes are:

  • Proteins contained in all living matter and they are found throughout nature. Many enzymes are found in our bodies and are essential to life.
  • Catalysts; this means they are special proteins that allow living things to break materials down into their basic components.
  • Not alive themselves, but they are made by living organisms (funguses and bacteria).
  • Coated with a prill when used in manufacturing. The prill decreases the dustiness of the powder and increased the particle size. The prill makes it more difficult to inhale the enzymes.
  • Made in solid granulates and liquid granulate form:
    • Granulates: Granulates are small, tough, round particles. When handled properly, granulates give off very little dust because they do not break up easily. Enzymes in granulate form are used to make granular laundry and dish detergents.

Health Risks

  • When the body’s immune system develops antibodies to a substance, a person becomes sensitized to that specific substance
  • If an employee were to inhale an enzyme frequently enough, or for a long enough period of time, the employee may become sensitized to the enzyme.
  • Short duration, incidental, high-level exposure (peak exposure) can also produce sensitization. History tells us that peak exposures are the greatest contributing factor to sensitization.
  • Skin contact with enzymes does not cause sensitization.
  • Enzyme allergy symptoms can occur if a sensitized employee inhales enough enzymes. A sensitized employee who is re-exposed to excessive levels of an airborne enzyme could develop allergy symptoms to that enzyme.
  • Once sensitization occurs, you will always be sensitized.
  • Sensitization is NOT a disease or an illness and does NOT alter an employee’s health.
  • Enzyme sensitization does NOT make an employee allergic to other allergens, such as, pollen or house dust.
  • Production Line SafetySensitization is determined by skin prick testing. An employee would be considered sensitized when the skin prick test is positive for that enzyme. This is called a Grade 1 response.
  • Allergic reactions can produce two different types of symptoms: Grade 2 and Grade 3
  • Grade 2: Upper respiratory tract symptoms, such as a runny nose, puffy eyes or face, scratchy throat, sneezing, and watery or scratchy eyes would be considered a Grade 2 Respiratory Incident.
  • Grade 3: These are lower respiratory tract symptoms, such as tightness in the chest, wheezing, or difficulty breathing (asthma-like symptoms), then it is considered a Grade 3 Respiratory Incident.
  • Respiratory incidents are usually triggered by peak exposure to enzymes in the air.
    • Peak exposures are short-term, high-level exposures that occur during spills, equipment clean-out, or other dusty or high liquid aerosol-generating tasks.
  • When exposure to enzymes is discontinued, the respiratory symptoms disappear and lung function returns to normal. Respiratory symptoms usually resolve within 1-3 hours after exposure has stopped. Some people may have delayed breathing trouble 6-8 hours later, which may last up to 24 hours. This reaction is not unique to enzymes, and is a common pattern for asthma caused by some common allergens.
  • The amount of enzyme necessary to produce respiratory symptoms varies greatly from person to person. The type and the sensitivity of respiratory symptoms vary from person to person. All we know for sure is — If there is no exposure, you will be safe.
  • The key to never becoming sensitized is controlling your exposure to enzymes. Sensitized employees can continue to work symptom-free in areas where enzyme exposure guidelines and operational guidelines are being met, and where safe work practices are being followed.

Production Line Safety Guidelines:

  • Dust and product spills must be cleaned up immediately.
  • Regularly remove accumulations of other dust, like cardboard dust.
  • The vacuum system should be used to clean up powder spills. Brooms, brushes, and forced air should never be used.
  • Residual powder should be mopped using 100o Fahrenheit water. Do not steam clean, without proper PPE. Bench squeegees may be used.
  • In raw enzyme handling areas, spillage/dirt should be cleaned immediately using approved method.
  • Follow all production line safety practices associated with the task being performed. PPE is used to protect against inhalation and spill exposure.
  • Respirators should be carried on person or be within arm’s’ reach.
  • Remove contaminated PPE before leaving work area or entering locker rooms, break areas, and other general meeting areas.
  • Dispose of contaminated PPE in designated receptacles. Half face masks, full face and PAPR’s should be stored in their pouches when in common areas.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water. This should be done at least three or four times a day, especially before eating and/or smoking, and going to the rest room.
  • If accidental gross skin contact occurs, shower immediately.
  • NIOSH/MSHA approved HEPA respirators should be used. Employees with mustaches below the lip line, beards, goatees or any facial hair that interferes with the seal of the half mask respirators, should wear a PAPR.
  • PAPR’s, respirators, and hoods should be cleaned with soap and water between uses for production line safety.
  • All totes should be sealed and outside surfaces cleaned and vacuumed of visible dust and spillage before transfer
  • Porta Vacs – Before and after each use the unit should be cleaned of dust and spillage.
  • Respirator requirement signs must be posted in a 6 foot radius while doing procedures with more than one door open on the equipment or while cleaning up spills
  • HEPA respiratory protection should be required at the slightest indication of airborne dust.
  • Sources of leakage should be corrected immediately and a dust/enzyme resource should be contacted.
  • For major spills (one carton or more) outside of an enclosure, signs must be posted and spill vacuumed.


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EPIC Packaging Systems
4134 Meramec Bottom Rd
St. Louis, MO 63129, US
(314) 845-0077

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