Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2005-0030-2968, Headlee Roofing, Mesa, Arizona.
On November 15, 2004, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request from the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers Local 135 to conduct a health hazard evaluation (HHE) for employees of Headlee Roofing in Mesa, Arizona. The request listed silica and noise as potential hazards to roofers. This is one of four HHEs examining silica and noise exposures among roofers in Arizona. On January 11-13, 2005, NIOSH investigators conducted an HHE at a residential work site in Mesa, Arizona. Dust and noise measurements were taken during residential roofing operations. In addition, bulk samples of tile dust were collected to determine the silica content. NIOSH investigators selected four homes where employees were cutting and laying tiles throughout the day and took noise measurements and simultaneous full-shift personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples for total and respirable dust. They also evaluated a saw equipped with local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and a saw not equipped with LEV typically used by the workers, using PBZ sampling and real-time monitoring of particle size and particle counts. Noise exposures for all seven roofers exceeded the NIOSH recommended exposure limit. Two employees exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limit, and all seven employees exceeded the OSHA action limit. The 8-hour time-weighted averages (TWA) for the total dust samples ranged from 1.2 to 5.4 mg/m3. The eight PBZ respirable dust concentrations ranged from 0.32 to 1.8 mg/m3, with a mean of 1.3 mg/m3. The 8-hour TWAs for respirable dust ranged from 0.2 to 1.8 mg/m3. Respirable silica samples ranged from 0.057 to 0.27 mg/m3, with a mean of 0.2 mg/m3. The respirable silica 8-hour TWAs ranged from 0.04 to 0.25 mg/m3. The LEV-equipped saw was not effective in reducing worker exposures to acceptable levels during cutting operations. Medical screening was conducted February 22-24, 2005. Employees from all four roofing companies were invited to participate if they had at least 5 years of experience as a roofer. The medical screening included a questionnaire, lung function test (i.e., spirometry), and a chest x-ray. Of the 118 employees who participated in all three tests, six were from Headlee Roofing. Most roofers who participated in the medical screening had normal lung function. None of those with abnormal lung function had moderate or severe impairments. After controlling for the effects of smoking, NIOSH investigators found that lung function decreased with increasing years of dry cutting cement tiles. No chest x-rays showed findings consistent with silicosis. NIOSH investigators determined that an occupational health hazard due to exposures to respirable silica and noise existed for employees of Headlee Roofing. Recommendations for controlling workplace exposures include reducing or eliminating exposures by implementing engineering controls and enforcing the use of personal protective equipment under the OSHA respirator program guidelines. The employer should develop a training program regarding the potential health hazards of respirable silica exposure and institute a medical monitoring program per the OSHA Special Emphasis Program for Silicosis. Additional recommendations are included at the end of this report.
Region-9; Hazards-Confirmed; Silica-dusts; Quartz-dust; Dusts; Respirable-dust; Silicosis; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Lung-fibrosis; Noise; Construction-industry; Roofing-and-sheet-metal-work; Heat-stress; Fall-protection; Construction-Search;
Author Keywords: Roofing Contractors; silica; quartz; dust; total dust; respirable dust; respirable silica; silicosis; noise; construction; roofing; fall protection; lung function; heat stress