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Engineering controls for cutting concrete tiles.

Sheehy J; Echt A; Garcia A
VENT 2006: 8th International Conference on Ventilation, May 13-18, 2006, Chicago, Illinois. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2006 May; :75
A series of recent NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluations has highlighted a newly recognized hazard associated with the use of concrete tiles in the residential roofing industry. Roofers cutting these tiles with tools such as gasoline-powered saws are exposed to high concentrations of respirable dust, crystalline silica, and noise. Silicosis is an irreversible, progressive, respiratory disease caused by inhaling respirable crystalline silica dust. The hazardous nature of working on pitched roofs makes it difficult to use traditional engineering control solutions. The use of concrete tiles is growing, especially in the western states impacting thousands of construction workers. The primary focus of this study is to evaluate and document engineering controls effective in reducing respirable dust and silica exposures during tasks where roofers cut concrete tiles. The suite of silica and dust control options investigated in this project includes the use of hand-held tools with local exhaust ventilation, wet methods with the application of water while cutting, and mechanical tile cutters. Effective controls are those that maintain exposures below occupational exposure limits, NIOSH REL and OSHA PEL, or those that reduce exposure above 70% when controls are used. NIOSH researchers conducted demonstration and evaluation surveys at roofing tile training facilities and at a number of homes where concrete roofing tiles were installed. Area and personal respirable dust samples were collected and analyzed following NIOSH Method 600 and crystalline silica according to NIOSH Method 7500. Results from the surveys showed that worker exposures to respirable dust while using powered saws with local exhaust ventilation approach occupational exposure limits. Wet methods have numerous problems including staining of tiles. However, mechanical tile cutters produced very low levels of dust and silica. In conclusion, it appears that engineering control methods are available that maintain respirable dust and silica controls well below occupational exposure limits.
Engineering-controls; Hazards; Concretes; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Roofing-industry; Roofers; Silicosis; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiration; Respiratory-irritants; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Dust-inhalation; Dusts; Dust-particles; Construction-workers; Workers; Work-environment; Exhaust-ventilation; Ventilation; Author Keywords: HETA 2005-0031-0055; HETA 2005-0030-2968; HETA 2005-0032-2985; HETA 2003-0209-3015
14808-60-7; 7631-86-9
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VENT 2006: 8th International Conference on Ventilation, May 13-18, 2006, Chicago, Illinois
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division