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Occupational exposures in seismic retrofitting operations.

McKernan J; Piacitelli G; Roegnerr K; Delaney L; Bayne G
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :55
Seismic retrofitting is the process of re-engineering existing structures to limit the extent of damage caused by earthquakes. Workers employed as general and special trade contractors as well as laborers and helpers are engaged in retrofitting operations. This industry is positioned to increase in size due to governmental funding available for natural hazard mitigation in states with frequent seismic activity, such as Alaska and California. This research project quantitatively characterized full-shift personal exposures to diesel exhaust (measured as elemental carbon), lead, respirable dusts, respirable quartz and noise hazards associated with retrofitting operations. Chemical assessments were performed using NIOSH sampling and analytical methods, and noise assessments utilized commercially available noise dosimeters calibrated in accordance with NIOSH REL sampling criteria. A total of 57 personal samples were collected for 11 occupations and 20 tasks observed over three days on a single work site. Participating occupations included: excavators, bricklayers, carpenters, concrete chippers, construction yard workers, core-drillers, demolition laborers, foremen, iron workers, rebar installers, and welders. Personal sampling results indicate that respirable dust (N=23) exposures ranged up to 9.17 mg/m3, with demolition laborers having the highest exposures. Respirable quartz results (N=23) ranged up to 0.53 mg/m3, with demolition laborers and concrete chippers having the greatest exposures. Noise dosimetry results (N=19) ranged from 76-112 dBA, with excessive exposures (> 1 00 dBA) being attributed to tasks performed by concrete chippers, demolition laborers, and iron workers. Lead exposures (N=15) ranged from 0.002 to 0.069 mg/m3, with concrete chippers having the highest exposures. Exposure to diesel exhaust (N=7) ranged up to 0.04 mg/m3 with highest results being attributed to excavation tasks. Fifty-three percent of the results were equivalent to, or exceeded applicable occupational exposure criteria. Sampling results show that particulate and noise abatement controls are necessary for the occupations indicated as having the highest exposures within this unique industry.
Engineering; Workers; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Diesel-emissions; Diesel-exhausts; Exhaust-gases; Carbonates; Lead-compounds; Respirable-dust; Quartz-dust; Noise; Noise-levels; Noise-exposure; Sampling; Dosimetry; Statistical-analysis; Lead-dust; Silica-dusts; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Demolition-industry
7440-44-0; 7439-92-1; 14808-60-7
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division