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Request for Information on Edel-Kindwall Caisson Tables for Preventing Decompression Illness in Construction Workers

December 2012
NIOSH Docket Number 254

High pressure tunneling operations are used for some underground infrastructure projects. Compressed air is used to prevent seepage of water or to stabilize unstable soil conditions. Caisson work (a water-tight structure that allows underwater construction to be performed) can also involve elevated pressure worksites. This hyperbaric environment (ambient pressure and compressed air effects) exposes caisson and tunnel workers to the risks of decompression sickness (DCS) also called the "bends". DCS is related to intravascular or extravascular bubbles formed during reduction of environmental pressure (decompression). The release of nitrogen bubbles into blood or tissues can result in obstruction of blood flow or pressure effects. Clinical manifestations of DCS include (but are not limited to) joint pain ("bends"), lytic lesions of bones (dysbaric osteonecrosis), cutaneous disorders (cutis marmorata), spinal cord and brain disorders (stroke, paralysis, paresthesias, bladder dysfunction, etc.), and cardiopulmonary disorders (shortness of breath ["chokes"]), arterial gas embolism).

More information can be found on the Decompression Sickness and Tunnel Workers page.

To view submissions received in response to this docket go to

Materials Under Consideration

Public Comment Period

Written comments on the document will be accepted through March 29, 2013 in accordance with the instructions below. All materials submitted should reference CDC-2012-0012 and NIOSH-254.

Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. EST on March 29, 2013.

  • Federal rulemaking portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: NIOSH Docket Office
    Robert A. Taft Laboratories
    4676 Columbia Parkway
    Cincinnati, OH 45226

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number. All relevant comments, including any personal information provided, will be posted without change to