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Material Hazards in Penetrant Testing

The physical health of liquid penetrant testing personnel should not be impaired by performance of liquid penetrant testing. To ensure health and freedom from accidents or injury, test personnel should be aware of job related hazards and safety precautions. Prolonged breathing of penetrant vapors, emulsifier vapors or solvent remover vapors may cause headaches, nausea or tightness or pain in the chest. To avoid this problem, forced air ventilation exhausting to the outside of the building may be required in addition to constant alertness to breakdown of the system or increased sensitivity of personnel. General personnel restrictions regarding cleanliness of the work area, wearing of safety shoes or limiting of loads to be lifted manually are applicable to liquid penetrant testing personnel and affect the ability of the operator to perform. During a test, liquid penetrant materials can have direct, unsafe effects on human operators — for example, topical exposure to chemical solvents. The materials expended in liquid penetrant tests include organic pigments, petroleum distillates, wetting agents, corrosion inhibitors, powders and various cleaning compounds and solvents. As a group, they are not highly dangerous chemicals but they must be used with care. Particular care is required when handling unhealthy or flammable liquids and vapors. Good ventilation must be provided.

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  4. NIOSH Publication 77-101, Occupational Diseases — A Guide to Their Recognition. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2011).
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