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Evaluation of health hazards in new residential construction.

McKernan J
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 20-25, 2000, Orlando, Florida. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2000 May; :32
Since 1994, an annual average of 1.1 million new single-family residential housing units were constructed in the United States. Despite the magnitude of construction in this specific sector, quantitative exposure data are lacking among the approximately 600,000 workers represented by various construction trades. The purpose of this project was to identify and characterize potential chemical, physical, and ergonomic hazards associated with various work tasks performed at 15 new residential construction sites in central Ohio. From information gathered during a preliminary walk-through survey, a list of potential health hazards was developed. An evaluation of the identified potential health hazards was then conducted using a task-based exposure assessment method. Twelve construction trades were selected for quantitative exposure assessment, using NIOSH sampling and analytical methods. To facilitate the evaluation of potential chemical, physical, and ergonomic hazards on residential construction sites, exposures were grouped into five categories: carcinogens, solvents, particulates, noise, and ergonomic hazards. A total of 300 industrial hygiene (i.e., PBZ and area) samples were collected to characterize exposure to 31 potential chemical and physical agents. Ergonomic evaluations were also performed by observing the tasks performed by the 12 selected trades and classifying worker movements into 10 categories. Results indicate that the most commonly detected chemical exposures for residential construction workers were particulates. One trade group sampled (pre-drywall workers) exceeded the NIOSH REL and ACGIH TLV for fibrous glass wool. The most common physical hazard present on the residential construction sites visited was noise. Noise dosimetry results showed that framing carpenters exceeded the OSHA action level of 85 dBA as a time-weighted average (TWA). The most predominant ergonomic hazards observed were hand/wrist manipulations and arm transports. These results indicate the need to implement controls and train workers on residential construction sites to reduce exposures to selected chemical and physical agents.
Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Construction-equipment; Construction-materials; Hazards; Health-hazards; Industrial-exposures; Employee-exposure; Physical-properties; Chemical-properties; Ergonomics; Work-analysis; Job-analysis; Exposure-assessment; Quantitative-analysis; Air-sampling; Analytical-methods; Sampling; Carcinogens; Solvents; Particulates; Noise; Task-performance; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Fibrous-glass; Glass-wool; Noise-exposure; Time-weighted-average-exposure; Musculoskeletal-system; Extremities; Body-mechanics; Training
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 20-25, 2000, Orlando, Florida
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division