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Occupational exposures in seismic retrofitting operations.

McKernan JL; Piacitelli GM; Roegner KC; Delaney L; Boiano JM
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2002 Feb; 17(2):75-81
Based on the results of this evaluation, NIOSH provided the university, the general construction contractor, and its subcontractors with the following recommendations, which were intended to improve health and safety at the work site: 1) Workers involved in concrete chipping, rebar installation, and lead abatement activitied should use wet methods and/or tools equipped with local exhaust ventilation to minimize exposure to airborne particulate containing lead and/or crystalline silica. In situations where engineering controls are not practical, use of appropriate half-mask respirators equipped with HEPA filters, as well as protective equipment and clothing (PPE/C), shoule be continued or otherwise implemented. 2) Consideration should be given to situations in which unexpected exposures may occur, such as collateral exposures from nearby work activities involving lead contaminated (i.e., previously abated) building surfaces. Before any demolition work or other similar activities are initiated, it is recommended that an initial assessment be performed to identify the potential for lead-exposure/hazardous lead concentrations. In addition, proper hygiene practices (i.e., hand washing, showering, and on-site storage of work apparel) should be followed, and proper PPE/C should continue to be worn by all lead-exposed workers (regardless of their lead exposre) and removed prior to leaving the site, in order to prevent accidental lead ingestion and take-home exposures. 3) Diesel exhaust exposures should be kept at or below the LFC (i.e., background concentration) by one of the following methods: using excavation equipment powered by alternate fuel sources (i.e., LP gas), implementing forced air ventilation (i.e., fans), limiting worker exposure times, or (less preferably) requiring workers to wear appropriate respirators. 4). An effective hearing conservation program needs to be developed and implemented in accordance with the requirements of the OSHA noise standard, including, but not limited to, audiometric testing, employee notification, noise measurement, use of hearing protection devices (HPDs), employee training, and record-keeping. Engineering controls, such as the replacement of older tools and equipment with newer, quieter models, should be considered. Workers should be involved in the selection process to ensure widespread acceptance. Use of quieter tools would eventually reduce the number of workers required to wear HPDs.
Exposure-methods; Exposure-levels; Safety-research; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-education; Accident-prevention; Lead-compounds; Lead-dust; Silica-dusts; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Demolition-industry
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Tharr D
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division