OBERLIN — Lorain County Joint Vocational School officials are pleased that two carpentry lab air quality and particulate tests showed no concerns.
The tests, completed March 17 and 18 by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Safex Inc., indicated that the individuals tested for wood dust did not exceed the permissible exposure limit set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The tests were requested by Superintendent Glenn Faircloth after Lorain County JVS carpentry instructor Ron Gresco blamed his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease diagnosis on the air quality in the lab.
Gresco, who has worked in the lab for 13 years, provided his medical test results, which showed that he has the lungs of a 108-year-old. He said he brought up concerns about the air quality to former Superintendent John Nolan and Deputy Superintendent Jerry Pavlik after a student was taken to the hospital for respiratory distress.
That student had asthma, according to documents provided by the school.
A test completed by an independent testing firm in 2010 indicated that one student’s exposure to particulates exceeded OSHA’s permissible exposure limits, while another student did not. Since that time, the school has upgraded its exhaust system, added a portable exhaust collector and cleaned the ducts.
The recent tests showed that none of the individuals tested exceeded those exposure limits. Two individuals did exceed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s exposure limits for wood dust, which established much lower exposure limits.
Faircloth said those results are not a cause for alarm because most organizations follow the limits established by OSHA. He said the school is notifying students and staff of the results.
During the company’s tests, an instructor and a student were measured for wood dust exposure. The student performed several cutting tasks with a miter saw and a dado blade during that time.
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation test, completed in response to a worker’s compensation claim filed by Gresco, indicated that three students and the instructor were tested using air monitoring equipment while they worked in the lab. During the sampling period, the students cut and routed wood and worked on medium-density fiberboard, luan board and particleboard.
The test completed by Safex cost the district $1,400, while the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation test was free.
Gresco said he has not heard from Lorain County JVS as to whether he can return to work. Faircloth said he is waiting for the results of medical tests to determine if Gresco is able to work.