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Occupational exposure during cement tile cutting with portable saws.

Sollberger R; Tubbs R; McCleery R; Achutan C; Rodriguez M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :74
NIOSH conducted a health hazard evaluation during cutting of cement tiles at a home construction site to assess worker exposures to noise, carbon monoxide (CO), respirable and total dust, and respirable silica. Tiles consisted of up to 75-80% by weight crystalline silica and were cut using portable gas-powered saws. On two consecutive days, full-shift PBZ samples were collected on eight workers to assess noise and CO exposures, and on 16 to 19 workers for respirable dust, total dust, and silica. A questionnaire administered to the workers asked for job information and health symptoms. During the evaluation, employees wore hard hats and safety glasses; some also wore disposable dust respirators, but none used hearing protection. All workers evaluated exceeded the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for noise of 85 dBA, for an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The respirable crystalline silica exposures ranged from 0.03 mg/m3 to 0.32 mg/m3, with 88% exceeding the NIOSH REL of 0.05 mg/m3. Thirteen of the 16 (81%) workers' silica exposures exceeded the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit, and 75% exceeded the ACGIH Threshold Limit Value. Total dust exposures ranged from 0.71 mg/m3 to13.01 mg/m3 and respirable dust exposures ranged from 0.23 mg/m3 to 2.31 mg/m3. One worker exceeded the NIOSH ceiling level of 200 ppm for CO, but none exceeded the NIOSH REL-TWA of 25 ppm. Fourteen of the 24 workers (58%) were experiencing respiratory symptoms that could be associated with workplace exposures to dust. Many workers lacked knowledge about the presence of silica in the tiles and were not familiar with the hazards associated with exposure to respirable silica. Recommendations were made to improve training, implement engineering controls to reduce noise, dust, and silica exposures, and use personal protective equipment.
Occupational-exposure; Cement-industry; Tile-workers; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Noise-exposure; Respirable-dust; Silica-dusts; Sampling; Dusts; Dust-particles; Safety-glasses; Safety-equipment; Respirators; Personal-protective-equipment
14808-60-7; 630-08-0
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: August 26, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division