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In-depth survey report of four sites: exposure to silica from hand tools in construction chipping, grinding, and hand demolition at Frank Messer and Sons Construction Company, Lexington and Newport, Kentucky, Columbus and Springfield, Ohio.

Echt AS
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, EPHB 247-15a, 2001 Apr; :1-15
This report describes the exposures and controls that were evaluated at four sites where tasks such as concrete grinding with hand-held grinders (sites 1 and 2), removing brick with pneumatic hammers (site 3), and demolition of tile and plaster walls with hand tools (site 4) were performed. The results at site 1 indicate that the use of local exhaust ventilation with a concrete grinder can reduce exposures to the point where a half-mask respirator provides adequate protection for the worker. However, the vacuum source must be carefully selected to include features such as adequate capacity to contain the dust collected during the task, the ability to clean the filter without opening the vacuum cleaner, the ability to remove full bags without exposing the operator to the dust, flow sufficient to capture the dust at the source and transport it to the vacuum source, ease of use, and filtration efficiency adequate to prevent the vacuum source from acting as an aerosol generator for respirable dust. The results at site 2 indicate that a laborer grinding concrete without local exhaust ventilation was exposed to respirable dust containing quartz between 20 and 32 times the OSHA PEL and to respirable quartz between 35 and 55 times the NIOSH REL. These results indicate that a half-mask air purifying respirator is not sufficiently protective for an employee grinding concrete with no local exhaust ventilation controls, even in a relatively open area. Samples collected on one of two workers removing brick facing from a building at site 3 indicate that his exposures exceeded the NIOSH REL for quartz and the OSHA PEL for respirable dust containing 16% quartz. The other worker was exposed to a slightly higher level of respirable dust, but his silica exposure could not be quantified. Results from site 4 indicate that a hand-demolition task, such as pulling down a ceiling and demolishing one wall of a bathroom resulted in exposures requiring
Region-4; Region-5; Respirable-dust; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-irritants; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Silica-dusts; Demolition-industry; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems
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Field Studies; Control Technology
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NTIS Accession No.
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Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Control Technology & Personal Protective Equipment; Research Tools and Approaches; Traumatic Injuries; Disease and Injury
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Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division